Formula SAE Electric Racecar Battery

During my time as battery lead for MIT Motorsports, I was in charge of the design, manufacturing, and assembly of the main car battery. The battery is 403.2V at max charge and is 21Ah, totalling 7.2KWh of energy. There are 672 cylindrical cells in the battery, packaged into smaller segments called cell modules. The battery is set up with the team's custom BMS solution, distributed temperature sensors, and a modular water cooling loop. The battery is empirically capable of discharging at least 10kW continuously.

A Closer Look

Cell Module

The battery is separated into 8 cell modules. Each cell module is glued, spotwelded, and assembled in house. Each module is fitted with a coldplate that cools the bottoms of the cells. Each coldplate was machined in house and sent to a team sponsor for brazing.

Custom Coldplate

Test rig for our coldplates.

Discharge Testing

In order to test the performance of our water cooling loop, I set up a discharge test using our battery testing equipment and a 900 W, 1 Ohm resistor. This data gave us guarantees on the performance of our battery.

Assembled Pack

After a lot of hard work from the battery team, the battery was assembled with functional water cooling and is on its way to being competition ready!

Cell Discharger

Cell Classification

Tangentially related to battery design is selecting the best cell to make a battery. Every cell has unique properties, even those with the same model and manufacturer due to the uncertainty in the manufacturing process. The goal for this PCB I designed was to automatically cycle cells to determine their properties to circumvent any third party vendor that might not tell the full truth about the capabilities of their cells. This PCB was designed in altium and is capable of discharging four different cells simultaneously and asynchronously. It uses a hardware implemented feedback loop to regulate the current drawn from the cell, and uses mosfets in their saturated region to act as a votlage dependent resistor. Heat dissipation occurs through the vias to a cooling block placed below. The theoretical max power that can be dissipated continuously is 120W per cell.