Mumbai: Somaiya College students' compact vehicle wins competition in Bengaluru

Published: Dec 11, 2019, 18:06 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

A team of 14 students from the mechanical engineering branch of the Vidyavihar College designed and manufactured this fuel efficient prototype vehicle

The students of Somaiya Engineering College with their prototype vehicle. Picture/Pallavi Smart
The students of Somaiya Engineering College with their prototype vehicle. Picture/Pallavi Smart

Students of Somaiya Engineering College won a national competition for their car that can give extraordinary mileage of over 200kms/ltr. The car has won in the prototype category of the Shell Eco-Marathon competition held in Bengaluru in the end of November.

A team of 14 students from the mechanical engineering branch of the Vidyavihar College designed and manufactured this fuel-efficient prototype vehicle. The team was originated by the idea of saving the depleting fossil fuel reserves and reducing the carbon footprint. They were participating in the competition's category of gasoline prototype vehicles.

According to information provided by the students, the vehicle's design is inspired by the shape of a raindrop to minimize the aerodynamic drag. It is also very compact in size that allows only one person to fit in. This car is completely made of carbon fibre which is extremely strong and weighs less. The vehicle body weighs a mere 8 kg and the total vehicle weight with all the systems together is just 50 kg." The team completely carried almost all the processes of designing and fabrication in the college workshop itself.

As the team explains, since fossil fuels are depleting rapidly, these vehicles can be the future of mobility and completely change the way of travel. One of the team members, Tanishq Parikh, who tested the vehicle at the competition, told mid-day, "The vehicle has only 3 wheels which amount to 20% reduction in weight than a four-wheeled vehicle. These vehicles are designed to achieve a very high fuel economy and hence are not designed to exceed speeds greater than 40 kmph. Other ways in which we increase the efficiency is by using highly efficient and high-quality bearings, lightweight aluminum wheels- the one used in bicycles. Also incorporating lightweight 3D printed materials in most of our vehicle systems, reducing the use of unnecessary and redundant components which increase weight such as air filters, cooling systems, sound systems, etc, can also help."

Parikh also said that the prototype vehicle uses an 80 cc engine by Honda modelled- GX80 (a small engine used to drive a water pump) and the drive train comprises a centrifugal clutch and a single reduction chain and sprocket drive to maximize the transmission efficiency. "The vehicle is equipped with all the safety systems and also with fire detection and extinguishing system. The vehicle also consists of speedometers and proximity sensors for a better and safe driving experience," he added.

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