In these contemporary times, with concerns about global warming, efforts are on to find suitable alternatives for transport systems powered by fossil fuels. Leading in this endeavor is an Amrita team of BTech students from the Amritapuri campus. Recently the team won the first prize for their creation in a national competition.
The team participated in the inter-collegiate design competition EFFI-CYCLE 2012 organized by the Society of Automobile Engineers, North India Section in Chandigarh during October 12-14, 2012.
The contest invited undergraduate students to design, validate and fabricate energy-efficient hybrid and human-powered three-wheeler electric vehicles.
Third-year BTech students of Mechanical Engineering, Sidhu Suresh, Balagovind N. Kartha, Akhilesh N., Nikhil Unnkrishnan and Vinayak Jayaprakash took up the challenge by teaming up with final-year BTech students of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Arun N. R. and Aswin Jayaprakash.
Together, they made a three-wheeler cycle meant to be ridden or driven by two drivers. Either one person can drive, or both; the vehicle can also be powered by electricity. They named their prototype vehicle, Avatar.
“Our Avatar incorporates a steering system that is efficient for maneuvering at lower speeds. The kinetic energy of the vehicle during braking is transferred into a battery. The regenerative braking system, the double wishbone suspension and the light-weight design were some of our innovations. The chassis is strong and is designed to withstand impacts, the seat-belts protect the drivers and a covering guards against debris, wind and rain,” explained the students.
Not only was the team evaluated on the technical aspects of their design, and the performance of the vehicle in a gradient test, maneuverability, acceleration, endurance, safety and braking, but they also presented a business plan to make 4000 units. Their creation was adjudged the best engineered and the most ergonomically designed. It placed first in the acceleration test and second in the endurance test.
Their novel design helped the team lift the winner’s trophy and bring home a cash award of Rs. 1.45 lakhs, coming out ahead of nearly 120 teams from nation-wide colleges.
“It is a moment of pride for Amrita,” stated Dr. Balakrishna Shankar, Associate Dean, Amritapuri campus, with happiness.
“The hard work put in by the students should be an example to all. This shows the potential of our students and is an example of ordinary students achieving extraordinary results by hard work and grace,” stated Shri. Vinod Gopal, Manager-CIR, who guided the student team.