Team Inferno of MVIT all set to ignite Shell Eco Marathon 2014
Every year, every country in the world continues to consume oil at an increasing, with petrol in vehicles being one of the major modes of consumption. Every other day we see many news items and people in the know urging everyone to limit the use of petrol as much as possible. While that may not be possible, the onus is on the manufacturers of vehicles to improve the mileage of the engines so that they become more efficient.
Therefore, it is heartening to see some very talented engineers from the reputed college of Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology (Sir MVIT) putting all the knowledge they have gained from their professors and put in practical applications. Team Inferno, which was formed by students of the mechanical engineering department of the institute in 2011, is once again taking part in the prestigious Shell Echo Marathon 2014, whose Asia leg would be held from February 6th to February 9th at Manila, Philippines.
In case you’re wondering what the Shell Echo Marathon was all about, it is a competition held by energy behemoth Shell with a view to increasing interest among budding engineers to build engines that will be more efficient, thereby reducing the amount of fuel that is unnecessarily wasted. The competition takes places in three continents, the Americas, Europe and Asia. The winners of the competition are determined by calculating whose car goes the farthest distance with the least amount of energy used. Shell also recognises the need for driver safety, and so the design of the car made by the teams must also pass certain tests that determine whethe the vehicle is safe to drive.
When I first came to know about the efforts put in by the members of Team Inferno, it was jaw dropping to hear about the mileages that they were trying to achieve. I was told that the 2012 car that was constructed gave 240 kmpl, which is a staggering achievement, which won them the award of “Best Indian Team” as well as a cash prize of $5000 for the performance of the car in the safety and technical rounds. I am reliably informed that the team’s target this time round is a mind boggling 1000 kmpl, which would entirely depend on the kind of sponsorship they are able to get.
Being an engineer myself, I was indeed fascinated to know how this can be achieved. Alas, my knowledge seems to have been lost in the sands of time, as I had a terrible time trying to grasp the intricacies involved in achieving this kind of mileage. But from what I could garner, the idea was to use a 50cc Honda Ghx50 engine which was later modified so that the fuel consumption was reduced. Apparently, reducing the bore diameter on the engine means that the piston displacement volume reduces, and thus does not use up too much fuel. I was given a more detailed description of how the fuel system worked and how it could achieve the targeted mileage, but it is not a shame to admit that it was way over my head, and I will leave to people who can understand it better!
Of course, it is not just about the engine as the weight of the chassis and the outer body also plays a major role in determining how far the vehicle can move. Use heavy materials and you would end up having to use more fuel to push the car. At the same time, using lighter materials could mean that the vehicle may not meet the safety standards. For the chassis, which weighs a total of 6.45 kgs, an alloy of aluminium has been used that the team determined would be useful for their requirements. The outer body is being made with the help of Lexan plastic, which is not only light weight, but also has a high impact strength and resistant to temperature changes. The vehicle in itself would be a 3 wheeled one seated car.
I am sure there is more to it than the simplified version above, but lets leave the technicalities to the brilliant students of MVIT.
All in all, Team Inferno, ably helped by knowledgeable professors, seem to be on the right track in constructing the most fuel efficient car, and lets try to support in winning the competition so that they can make the country proud!
For those interested in extending sponsorship to Team Inferno, you can contact Avinash Hegde on +91 9742089103