Polytechnic is Pursuing New Ideas


The Baja SAE team is building a new electronically controlled CVT (continuously variable transmission) for this year’s competition. It has potentially two significant advantages. Less rotating mass improves efficiency. And, the main controller reads data from the CVT and the engine and reacts accordingly, keeping the car at an optimal RPM.


The CVT overheats. And acceleration in the first three or four seconds needs improvement.


Students have been designing and building the new electronic CVT since 2016. A team of three engineering students — electrical, mechanical and computer — are refining the computer coding. Another team will test-drive the car to see if the CVT passes the obstacle course and endurance trials. In the spring, the Baja car and its new electronic CVT should be ready for competition. The backup plan? There’s always the manual version.