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‘A huge encouragement’: U of M electric car team receives Tesla sponsorship

A University of Manitoba engineering team is celebrating receiving an electric new sponsorship.

The U of M’s chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (UMSAE) Formula Electric team has received a battery sponsorship from Tesla Motors. The electric vehicle manufacturer is donating 2170-type battery cells for the team to use in its next electric car design.

Each school year, engineering students build a new open wheel formula-style electric race car to compete at international events.

Team lead Tanner Turnbull says the Tesla sponsorship is a massive confidence booster.

“It’s kind of surreal, you realize that ‘wow the largest electric vehicle manufacturer on the planet is now acknowledging us and recognizing what we’ve accomplished,'” Turnbull said. “It’s a huge encouragement to continue working hard towards our goal of making the best electric vehicle in North America at these competitions.”

Kaya Jones is the team’s accumulator lead, in charge of building the car’s battery. “All the power from the car starts there, without the accumulator the car would be a shopping cart essentially,” said Jones.

Jones said the Tesla sponsorship covers the cost of the most expensive part of the vehicle.

“Having the support from Tesla, both monetarily and having their backing, being able to consult with their engineers about the design and get their expertise, it’s invaluable to the team,” Jones said.

Jones added that being a part of the UMSAE Formula Electric team for the past year has been an incredible experience.

“SAE has some of the best and brightest students at the U of M, and being able to be around them and pick knowledge off them, pick their brains apart, I feel it helped develop myself as an engineer,” Jones said.

The team said they were one of only 67 chosen worldwide for the Tesla sponsorship.

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