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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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.

Rollout 2016

26250489346_5f878cf714_oWith a very succesful event, our team celebrated the highlight of the season so far. This was an evening to thank our friends, families and sponsors for the support without which the project would not be possible.

After a strenous and sleepless week of preparations, we invited our guests to the great atmosphere of the MVG-Museum to spend an interesting evening with us.

After everybody got to know each other and enjoyed the buffet, our guests were officially welcomed. It was followed by a short introduction about the union, where our colleagues from the TUfast Racing Team also had a chance to introduce themselves. In the following, each department presented its challenges, goals and innovations.

 

25673858083_ff49920dec_oSince the new track of the Shell Eco Marathon is more challenging than last year with some gradients, our team is working on the optimal driving strategy. This issue also kept our drive train team busy. Several concepts regarding the matter were presented. Goal of the running gear department was the improvement of last years steering mechanism and gaining advantage with lighter components and extensive testing. Our chassis also experienced considerable upgrades regarding aerodynamics and weight. After the presentations, all guests were taken on a 360° drive on last years track thanks to virtual reality. Finally, all sponsors were invited on stage and were given a small gift in memory of the cooperation.

 

At  last, with standing ovation, eLi16 drove in the hall. Isn’t she a beauty?

After everybody had the chance to have a close look at our vehicle, the evening came to an end.

There are two things left for us to state. First, we want to thank all our supporters. Thanks to all  our friends and families, helping us to live our dream. And of course a special thanks to the sponsors. Without your help, all of this would not have been possible. We hope to fulfill the trust you showed us.

And finally we have a message: We are ready for the upcoming competitions! Here we are! This is eli16! SEM 2016, here we come!

 

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Starting into the new year

tufasteco1-2After a phase close to New Year, where most of us had to sacrifice a lot of our free time because of the exams, 2016 starts for us now. And with that, we start into the final stage for manufacturing our new prototype.

We retrieved our last year’s vehicle, eLi15, doing some testing in order to collect new data and to get our new driver settled in. In addition, we asked two of our newest members of the team to tell us about their experiences. The result, as you can read below, shows a nice insight into the life of the TUfast Eco Team.

 

Artur Grau Miarons (Body)/ Translated by Robin Esterer:
Carbon. That’s how the member of the Body-Department calls the material, which the entire semester is all about. In the TUfast Eco Team, this division takes on the huge job to give a body to our new prototype.

tufasteco1-11I was lucky enough to join this amazing group and as predicted, I learned an incredible lot during the last few months. We freshmen first had the job of laminating the cable ducts, where, under assistance, we learned about the cleansing, the application of release agent and how to laminate with prepreg fabric. A further procedure that was taught to us was the preparation of the monocoque for the autoclave. The whole body needs to be wrapped in an airtight bag, so that under the effects of pressure and heat, the layer of pre-preg can harden around the aluminum comb core of our composite sandwich panel. But in order to be able to laminate in the first place, a suitable form is needed. We had the opportunity to prepare the ones for the top cover and the wheel arches. Using a band saw we cut Ureol slabs to smaller blocks, which were then glued together in the particular shape that would be appropriate for the milling process.

As implied by our name, we are a team and this also implies interdepartmental assistance. For that, we helped other divisions, for instance with finding sponsors.

I now can safely claim, that joining the team was the most important decision in my university career so far.

See you at the competitions!

 

Marvin Doerr (Drive Train)/ Translated by Robin Esterer:

tufasteco1-5In the meantime, our department worked on the circuit diagrams for the remaining boards, for example the battery-management-system. Other, already manufactured boards where fitted with components and by now already got their software, including a consistent messaging protocol. With this, now the sensor board can communicate with the periphery board and exchange telemetry data. This data can already be seen on the specifically programmed graphical user interface of the control and navigation display of our driver.

In addition, the drive train team was able to gain new sponsors and push on the manufacturing of the motor.

With this support and the great team spirit, I am looking forward to the competitions!

Christmas Celebration 2015

After many months of work and dedication, a very successful year comes to an end. By winning the Shell Eco Marathon and the Educ-Eco, we have reached incredible goals and are now already working in the important phase of the new season. For that reason, we used the Christmas time as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and to thank our sponsors, without which none of the mentioned would have been possible.20151217_193714

Together with our colleges from the TUfast Racing Team, we set up our workshop for Christmas mood and, while eating our self-made food, were able to have some interesting conversations with our guests. It was the perfect opportunity to get to know our supporters and return the favor of interest. After short season retrospections by the team managers, one could enjoy mulled wine and a relaxed atmosphere with more conversations until the enjoyable evening came to an end.

At this point, we, as the whole team, want to thank everyone for the great support and wish a Merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year!

 

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