DTU E-Supermileage win a Vehicle Design Award at the 2020 Asia Off-Tracks for their creative and ingenious design of their teardrop shaped Prototype vehicle drawing inspiration from the futuristic Batmobile.
About the Vehicle Design Award - Prototype
Sponsored by Altair, the Off-Track Awards for Vehicle Design for Prototype Vehicles recognises innovative design research and execution. It is awarded to the team that presents the most original and coherent vehicle in terms of aesthetics, ergonomics, technical feasibility, choice of materials, and eco-friendliness.
What they achieved
The DTU E-Supermileage team showed incredible resourcefulness and ingenuity in this year’s competition as they sought to increase the efficiency of their car at every turn. The team went through a stringent design process when developing their vehicle. They were exacting in addressing any restrictions that could reduce efficiency, deciding early on that the vehicle needed to have a low frontal area, low drag coefficient, an aerodynamic shape, and minimum weight.
With drag reduction front of mind, the team chose a teardrop shape for their car – a design that the school had used in previous Shell Eco-marathon competitions. But to increase the aerodynamic advantage of the design even further, they improved on the previous teardrop design by encasing their wheels in the vehicle body thereby reducing drag.
DTU E-Supermileage started with a clear aesthetic in mind, taking inspiration from the eye-catching Batmobile depicted in DC Comics and the dramatic Lamborghini Aventador. Incredibly, the team were able to find the perfect balance between the striking shapes of these vehicles, while maintaining effective aerodynamic design.
The team perfected the design of their vehicle using computer-aided design software. To find the balance between aerodynamic performance and aesthetics, the team relied heavily on testing facilities, running 2,500 wind tunnel simulations in the process.
“Shell Eco-marathon has inspired us in many ways. It has increased our enthusiasm and interest in the field of STEM and representing our country on an international stage makes us feel proud.”
Once the team finalised the vehicle design, they turned its attention to weight reduction, opting for carbon fibre as the principal material for construction to reduce weight. In addition, the team used several other innovative methods to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle, including:
- Replacing metal hinge locks with PVC material locks.
- Using neodymium magnets to lock the vehicle’s rear compartment.
- Using foam padding around the driver’s seat.
- Producing carbon fibre C and L-shaped parts that replaced heavier steel components
DTU E-Supermileage’s vehicle was an incredible success. The vehicle secured third place at the 2019 Shell Eco-marathon competition in India with a mileage of 138 Km/kWh. Riding the wave of their performance, the team achieved coverage in many prestigious newspapers and on social media, securing stories that commented favourably on the vehicle’s incredible design.
Why the judges believed they deserve to win?
Lead Judge: Pandu Ranga Chirala, Altair
“The winner’s entry was impressive as they proved they can effectively reduce the vehicle drag, achieve weight reduction and increase safety, whilst also demonstrating effort on their virtual product development and simulation. The jury was impressed with their thought process and thorough supporting documentation. The team’s completed vehicle was a good representation of their conceptual design with clear decisions made on materials.”
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