Rollout muc017

We proudly present our new vehicle muc017.

On Wednesday, the 5th of April 2017, the official presentation of our Urban Concept took place at MVG Museum, just as in the previous year. Framed by historic streetcars, the star of the evening was shining even more.
As every year, we were looking forward to this evening full of expectations and couldn’t wait to show the public, what we were working on for such a long time. The season began exciting, with the change to the Urban Concept category in July and of course everybody was curious, how we managed these new challenges. During the construction and the manufacturing phase, we experienced several minor and major problems and differences to the construction of a prototype vehicle. For example, we had to give up on the idea of a full carbon monocoque due to the size of the new vehicle and instead look into different opportunities of attaching the body parts together. Also seemingly simple parts, such as the windshield viper and the door hinge had their issues that had to be resolved.

 

Finally, we were able to manage all the challenges and all the work was forgotten, when we finally revealed muc017 together onstage. Together with our sponsors, families and friends, we were celebrating this special moment until the late evening.

Now we devote ourselves with full power to the perfection of the car – eventually, there is a little more than a month left for testing and resolving small problems, until the competition phase begins.

 

For more pictures of the evening see here.

 

11.02.17 Focus on Manufacturing!

The new year started as productive for us as the old ended. Already before Christmas, our manufacturers surprised us with the first components and the holidays were barely over, when the team members were returning and taking up the work again. So, the first chassis components left the oven and got demolded even before the lectures started again.

For the completion of the carbon works, we are still waiting for the last forms from our milling cutters, but from week to week our vehicle gets more recognizable. Additionally, small vehicle parts such as the mirrors are back from manufacturing and our guys provide the final touches.
Meanwhile, the running gear guys successfully tested the first components on stability and functionality and perform some post-production work.
Finally, also the drive train team has been advancing work with full power. The circuit diagrams and layouts of our boards are completed and now the focus moves on to the software development.

 

In general, the manufacturing phase of our Urban Concepts is progressing quickly and very successfully and we can hardly wait to present the vehicle in April and of course prove our work on the race track!

15.12.2016 TUfast Eco goes Urban Concept!

New Season, new concept! This year, we decided against designing a prototype for the Shell Eco-marathon. Instead, we take on a new challenge and move on to the Urban Concept class.
We can look back to many successful years within the Prototype class. Every year we worked on a new and better vehicle and surpassed ourselves technically. This summer, our efforts culminated in the record for the most efficient vehicle of the world. For some, this would be a reason to slow down a little bit and start focusing only on incremental improvements of our existing eLi16. This was never a real option for us – it was obvious that we had to find a new challenge. The decision fell on the entry to the “Urban Concept” – class.

But why exactly did we choose Urban Concept?

For quite a long time, we were playing around with ideas regarding a more realistic vehicle. We wanted to dive deeper into the world of automotive development. The Urban Concept category enables us to do so. Now, we can realize all the ideas, team members already collected and discussed for years. Most of them could not be implemented in former vehicles because of the strict focus on efficiency. Especially for many of our long-standing team colleagues, a small dream will be fulfilled.
Additionally, we strongly believe, that electric vehicles are the future of mobility. An Urban Concept now allows us to take another step towards this vision. We want to contribute to creating awareness for the all possibilities and the importance of “green” mobility.

And what is Urban Concept exactly?

Why is it so exciting and innovative? An Urban Concept differs in many important points from a Prototype because the focus moves away from sheer efficiency to at least limited road suitability. Basically, it is still all about creating a high efficient vehicle but additionally aligning the development and design with real live conditions and requirements. This means amongst others an upright seating position, a better weather resistance, a complete light system, the use of side door design and many things more.

2016-07-16 – TUfast Eco Team achieves Guinness World Record for Most Efficient Electric Vehicle

After one year of preparation we achieved our goal: On Saturday, July 16 2016 our world record team undertook the official world record attempt and set a new high mark for vehicle efficiency. The team started at the break of dawn to prepare everything in time at the test track that our long-standing sponsor Audi had reserved for us. Last tests done on the previous day had us hoping for a good chance at reaching our own goal of 1000km/kWh.

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As vehicle for the world record attempt we chose eLi14, which we had built for the 2014 season. We saw it as the ideal candidate because it has aerodynamic advantages to our more current models (which are built to newer version of the Shell Eco Marathon competition rules) but is still very light and has a flexible running gear train. Based on our experiences with eLi15 and eLi16 we tuned up eLi14. Our custom-built motor controller with optimised acceleration and speed simulation, new rims with extremely low friction bearing, a motor with optimised magnet placement and silver wire coils for reduced ohmic losses and an aerodynamically optimised top cover without solar cells were all fitted into eLi14. One nostalgic reason also played a part in choosing eLi14 – at the competitions of the 2014 season, due to disqualifications and technical problems we could not achieve the car’s full potential.

After the track had been inspected and the vehicle was thoroughly checked over by the judges from Guinness World Records as well as Professor Herzog of Technical University Munich and Manfred Schedl of TQ Systems / Robodrive we were able to start our first attempt at 9:30am. After the successful “Installation Lap” the first start attempt gave us a good shock: the motor produced only stutters. The problem was found and fixed quickly as it was simply the control card of the motor controller that was loose. Shortly afterwards the energy measurement device was once again properly sealed by the judges and we were able to start. Gently eLi14 accelerated to the preset speed to cover the necessary distance of 25 km/h within one hour. This average speed thus complies with that of the Shell Eco-marathon.

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60 tense minutes followed – any technical problem, however small, could have cost precious time. But eLi14 completed lap for lap with constant timing and despite turning off the motor early rolled almost a kilometer past the finish line. This demonstration of its enormous glide capability gave us hope for the result. But first the judges had to read off the result and do their calculations to confirm it. We received the first result: 1142 km/kWh. We were ecstatic at this result, eclipsing the goal we had set ourselves by far!

But we knew this was not the end. The conservative first run had to be improved. At once we modified the speed control, changed the rear tire and increased tire pressure. The acceleration profile was also redone and we calculated a new earlier motor shutoff point based on the vehicle’s glide.

The second run completed without any hitches and despite stronger wind was a significant improvement. The final result: 81.16 Wh/100km, equivalent to 1232 km/kWh or 10956 km per litre of 95 octane gasoline (by caloric value). In units more familiar to motorists that is about 0.009l per 100km or, for the United States, 26135mpg.

We proudly received the Guinness World Record certificate and we now proudly hold the title of “most efficient electric vehicle”. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our sponsors whose engagement enabled us to undertake this endeavour.

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Press links:

Shell Eco-marathon 2016 in London

28046153491_9c2d2f7636_oThe participation at the Shell Eco-marathon in London put an end to a season full of ups and downs. Our equipment was already shipped during the week and because most team members went to England by plane, chances were up to use the time for acclimatization in the city. Relaxed and ready for the challenge, the team met at the track, where the technical inspection was to be passed in order to be allowed on track. We were able to take this first step without major problems thanks the experience from earlier events this season in combination with the reliable design of our vehicle.

27509483174_36082997f9_oDuring the first test runs, the difficulty and challenge of the track became apparent. Especially a long acclivity and some badly processed surface transitions brought our – for efficiency reasons not spring-loaded – vehicle to its limits. Already during the second test run, we had to change one of our main components due to the unexpected strains. Despite the incident, major damages could be avoided and all affected parts were replaced within two hours. Unfortunately, the streak of bad luck was loyal to us –not regarding the track but regarding the competitors.

28227954176_e62234d256_oAlthough finishing our first competition run without problems, we had to repeat our second run two times in total. For once, we were pushed into the barriers by another car and the second time, we were blocked from passing the finishing line by a broke down vehicle. Thanks to our solid carbon design, eLi16 survived all those incidents without major damages occurring – only an easily replaceable wheel arch took its toll. During the entire competition, multiple rollovers, crashes and even a burning prototype showed the difficulty of the track. In addition, many vehicles had to be towed away because they were not able to overcome the steep acclivity combined with strong winds. But thanks to the well-trained drivers and track marshals, the race passed without big safety interferences.

Despite all the bad luck, we were one of the few teams that were able to successfully finish all valid competition runs. In the end, our efforts were rewarded with a great third place. At this point it is my turn to thank the entire group, that stuck together during the entire time, always making sure eLi16 is ready for the next run – in order to gain another top placement in the hard-fought battery electric category.

Due to the happenings on track, this result makes us extremely proud and motivates us for the following years. We are already on fire for next season and we have a lot of surprises planned! Stay tuned!

360 VR video of eLi15 at SEM2015

We are proud to present the first-ever Shell Eco-marathon vehicle ride in 360 VR, including data overlays. A huge thanks to CURLYPICTURES who produced the video and to Simelli for the awesome beats! Enjoy the full immersion. We recommend to use a VR headset or to watch it on the mobile phone for the best experience. Look around and experience the ride on our eLi15!

We are ready for SEM2016!

SEM Challenger Event and EducEco 2016

IMAG2236In the middle of May, the TUfast Eco Team started into 2016’s competition season with two events. All packed up, we started in the early morning of May 12th, heading 1100 kilometers towards Le Mans, France.

First up was a test event – the SEM Challenger Event – to prepare for the Shell Eco-marathon taking place in London during the summer. It was the perfect opportunity to test eLi16’s innovative features under competition conditions and to detect problems early in the season. As to be expected with such a prototype, multiple teams had complications with their vehicles. Especially after a dangerous maneuver of a competing car and the necessary full braking, our main concern focused on the brakes, permanently dragging and pushing our energy consumption. Of course the results were not optimal, although we could finish the competition with a good third place in our category.

IMAG2355The two-day brake during the two competitions could be used to handle the problems and make several adjustments. The second competition – EducEco in Valenciennes – could be started optimistically. With several acclivities and sharp curves, the track there was very challenging and brought our eLi16 to its limits. Especially our running gear was able to shine and impress with its curve stability.

 
Despite more IMAG2278problems with our motor – a preliminary version, not designed for such acclivity – we were able to reach an extraordinary result on our last run: 1400 km/kWh including solar input! The sole energy consumption totaled to a range of 985 km/kWh, being the highest value reached in a comparable competition. The measurement of the second place was quadrupled, winning not only the electric prototype category but also the overall prototype Grand Prix. In addition, we were assigned the Mathworks Award for our simulation of the track and our vehicle and for the resulting driving strategy.

 

IMG-20160523-WA0005In conclusion, we did not give up, despite all the problems we had. Instead, we invested enough work and sleepless nights to finally reward ourselves with the last competition run. Our team grew together, showed power of endurance, ability to improvise and – after all – a lot of motivation. Additionally, the support from other teams was incredible, just as the general mood of the competitions. For these days we work the entire season, we sacrifice our private life and put our heart and soul into the project. We are looking forward to the Shell Eco-marathon in London, for which we now hopefully already avoided all those problems ahead.