Tuesday, 05 April 2011
Mechanical Engineering students from Challenger Institute of Technology have designed and built an award-winning electric vehicle using a unique steering system to conserve energy and maintain speed.
The highly competitive annual eV challenge design award in Midland was won by Engineering students Chirag Patel, Menno Luitzens, Alex Kovacs, Jacob Gleeson, Ronakkumar Pate, and driver Alberto Martinez.
The competition required students to design and build an electrically powered vehicle that would travel as far as possible in one hour with limited electric power.
Judges decisions were based on the design, development and construction of their motors, as well as on electronic motor controllers, mechanical transmissions, braking systems, steering geometry and vehicle suspension.
Challenger’s eye-catching entry – a car that leaned as it cornered, using a steering wheel that controlled only the tilt – impressed judges. The shift in the centre of gravity enabled the vehicle to steer around corners while maintaining speed.
Mechanical Engineering lecturer Ross Jarvis said the car is completely unique.
“It was designed to go around a five metre radius at 40km/h, which requires the car to lean into the corner at an angle of 30 degrees. It’s quite an interesting driving sensation.”
Challenger‘s engineering Program manager Mervyn Wilson said the mechanical engineering students would continue to hone their design skills in 2011, assisted by composites apprentices in the manufacture of a composite carbon fibre chassis. Electronic engineering students would contribute to an improved motor and controller design.
“This is an award-winning collective effort of our students demonstrating the interaction of mechanical and electronic engineering assisted by composites,” Mr Wilson said.
“These and other projects give students the design, management, manufacturing, budgeting and teamwork skills required in the engineering industry and an insight into the significant challenges confronting engineering design into the future.”
The full story of this award winning effort is featured in the April 2011 edition of Waves Magazine.