Your Future Car Could Be A Pod
September 05, 2017 | Jessica Baris, Communications Specialist and Copywriter
In the future, your main mode of travel could be a sleek, light-weight, aerodynamic pod.
A team of 33 students in Delft, the Netherlands built a pod-like vehicle called the Eco-Runner to compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe, which challenges student teams to design, build, test and drive ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. The students, majoring in fields such as electrical engineering and project management, participate in the design and construction of the Eco-Runner to put their skills to the test and to give the public a vision of what environmentally-friendly transportation could look like.
Eco-Runner Team Delft has participated in the Shell competition for 12 years, and this year, the students chose Maxwell’s ultracapacitors to enhance performance. One of the team’s most significant challenges was to engineer a way for the vehicle to travel uphill using as little energy as possible.
"The fuel cell cannot provide a huge amount of power for a short time in an efficient way," said Paul Hulsman, team manager. "The ultracapacitor technology is used to keep the power output of the fuel cell constant, and when a large amount of power is needed, especially when going up a hill, it will be extracted from the ultracapacitors. The ultracapacitors will make sure that the fuel cell doesn't need to provide a large amount of power at once."
The overall goal of the competition was to achieve 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) with only one liter of gasoline (or in the case of the Eco-Runner, the students chose hydrogen for the energy source). Other challenges included light weighting the vehicle, improving the powertrain and the electronic circuit, and making initial steps to incorporate smart technologies. To minimize aerodynamic drag, the Eco-Runner is designed for a driver who weighs 50 kilograms (110 pounds) and who doesn’t mind tight quarters.
"A lot of practical experiences are gained by joining our team, which is very valuable for student engineers," said Hulsman.
To read more about Eco-Runner Team Delft, visit their website.
Photos courtesy of Eco-Runner Team Delft
Communications Specialist and Copywriter
About this author
Jessica A. Baris is communications specialist and copywriter at Maxwell Technologies and enjoys telling a good story. Her background includes writing and editing for the high- tech, construction, and meetings and conventions industries. A San Diego native, Jessica earned a Master of Arts in rhetoric and writing from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of California, San Diego.
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