Every year, we host a Gate Review presentation, where we present the design of our competition vehicle to our sponsors, industry supporters, and other stakeholders. This year's Gate Review was on April 7, and a huge success.
You can check out our slides in the link below. Check back soon for a recorded presentation with audio.
For the time-challenged, here are the highlights of our design for RW-3x.
Problem 1: Thermal performance was the biggest limiting factor at Pikes Peak in 2015.
Our race performance was handicapped by thermal limits about halfway in, and it only got worse as time went on. Both our motor and our battery pack hit thermal limits.
This was partially due to a crash during testing that cut our thermal testing way short. Of course we wish we could have had more data to chew on before the race, but that's how it goes. No matter what, improving thermal performance was a major goal.
Problem 2: Handling had room for improvement, too.
Based on feedback from our riders, we knew there was room to grow on the vehicle's handling. Riders complained that the front end felt "numb", and the bike wasn't as responsive as they wanted.
So what did we do?
Improved thermal performance.
The cooling system in RW-3x has been completely revised based on a brand-new cooling system model. The results of system simulations caused us to switch over to a dual-circuit cooling system. Model results suggest that we will make it through Pikes Peak without a motor thermal limit.
Redesigned the battery pack.
This year's battery pack design is completely new. It features a new battery cell, a new busbar and shelf design, and a huge improvement in pack power. We were running last year's pack right up against its thermal power limits, but simulation results suggest that this year's pack wouldn't overheat even if we wrapped it in perfect insulation for the entire race.
Fine-tuned the handling.
The new battery pack gave us the opportunity to relocate the vertical center of gravity, so we boosted it by 10 cm to improve the roll rate. This year we have a brand-new, completely custom triple clamp design, and it allows us to adjust our vehicle geometry very quickly between runs.
Lots of other changes: a complete ABS system from Bosch that's part of a multi-year vehicle handling project. A new battery balancer system, allowing us to charge and balance our pack faster than ever before. More 12V power. Better CAD. Check out the slides for more details.
We're getting really excited about this year's competition - hope you can see why.