Racing towards fuel efficiency

Jan 09, 2014, 12:45 IST | Fatema Pittalwala

Students from K J Somaiya College create a fuel-efficient car to participate in an international race

Second-and third-year engineering students of K J Somaiya College of Engineering, Vidyavihar, yesterday launched a fuel-efficient car. The car, which its creators say can achieve 300 kilometres per litre, was designed and built by a team of 30 students from various fields of engineering.The team, which is called Team ETA, is the only team to be representing Maharashtra, in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia race, to be held from February 6 to 9 in Manila, Philippines, with a total of 150 teams competing.

Team ETA consists of 30 students, all from second and third year engineering. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari

Team ETA’s first car, Jugaad-13, was first built in 2013 to participate in the Shell Eco-marathon race 2013, to be held in Malaysia. The race challenges students from around the world to build fuel-efficient cars. Due to haze in Malaysia the 2013 race was cancelled. The students have now come up with a new and enhanced model of Jugaad-13, calling it J-14, with advanced use of technology for the 2014 shell Eco Marathon-race.

The main aim of the students participating in the competition was to build a fuel-efficient car that would also meet the common man’s needs. The students felt that the competition was a good platform to showcase the car, where the criterion was to have the best possible mileage. The eight students are self- funding their trip. The total cost of the car J-14 is around Rs 4, 00,000 to Rs 5, 00,000.

Team member Khoshrav Doctor (19), who studies Information Technology, explains the major differences between Jugaad-13 and J-14. He says, “The body of J-14 is much lighter than that of Jugaad-13 and because of this the car has better speed and balancing it by the driver is easier. We have removed most of the metal elements that were in the car, and the shape is more aerodynamic. In Jugaad-13 we had power transmission, which was bulky and added weight. This time we have used a planetary gearbox, which is L-shaped and weighs only 400gm. The J-14 totally weighs 45 kg.”

Third year electronics engineering student and team captain Kunal Jain (20) says he was left disappointed when the 2013 race was called off. He says, “We had worked so hard towards Jugaad-2013 and it’s a shame we never got a chance to drive it on the F1 race track. The track in Manila is a basic street track. It probably won’t be as exciting as the Malaysia track.”

Third year mechanical engineering student Hardik Bhutka (20), who will be travelling to the Philippines for the first time as a J-14 driver, is very excited. He says, “Competing with people from around the world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. People feel that driving the car while practically lying down in it is hard, but it is in fact very comfortable.”

How it works
Team captain Kunal Jain says, “We have used a 35cc engine for our prototype car, which runs on petrol. Considering the city road conditions, the average speed of the car is only 20-30 kmph. So for our aerodynamic body design, we used a lower cc engine, to increase the mileage and reduce the weight of the car.

With the decrease in weight, the car isn’t slowed down and with adequate power of the engine; we are able to achieve maximum mileage. We have used a two stage transmission planetary gear box and chain, and to control the fuel intake we have installed a fuel injection control, where the amount of fuel supplied to the engine is determined by the amount of time the fuel injector stays open.”

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