Sheffield Eco Motorsports

Shell Eco Marathon

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3rd Time Lucky

by Oliver Johnson (Electric Propulsion Sub Team Leader)


Hello everyone, my name is Oli and it’s now the third year of my degree (Electronics and Communications Engineering) and the third year of Sheffield Eco Motorsports. Being one of the few people that now remain on the team since its beginning in 2015, I feel I have a rare view of the team as I have witnessed its progression over the course of its life; with an almost entirely research, theoretical and design approach in its first year, a mix of design, building and testing in the second year, and now (hopefully) almost entirely just building and testing in the third year. My role in the team has progressed alongside this, from having little clue what was going on in the first year to now being Team Lead for the Electrical Propulsion sub-team (with only slightly more of a clue), which now consists of four people.

As a sub-team, our main list of things to do includes; finishing off the motor controller, finishing off the Battery Management System (BMS) and winding our custom motor. Luckily for us, most of the circuit designs were finished off last year so our main task for the next few weeks is to add the finishing touches and get things up and running.

After Chatura and Janith had managed to pretty much finish off the entire motor controller at the start of summer, I had approached the first lab test with some confidence. Unfortunately, as is the way, we ran into problems pretty much straight away when our motor from Zytek Automotive failed to respond to our accelerator pedal and so began our work on fault finding over the following couple of weeks. With everything looking good on the STM microcontroller board, we managed to narrow it down to the inverter circuit driver chip, which was undergoing fault conditions regularly. After this, we managed to remedy the problem and we now have a fully functioning motor controller board!


After working on this car for over 2 years now, I’m looking forward to seeing everything get put together!