Revving up on an engineering model
Thursday June 12 2008 10:38 IST Siri Srinivas for Express News Service Bangalore
THE students of RV College of Engineering (RVCE) unveiled a prototype of a hybrid vehicle which uses both electric and bio-diesel mechanisms. Project Chimera is an environment friendly biodiesel-electric hybrid vehicle based on the electric car Reva.
The project, handled by the final year students of RVCE, culminated in a ceremony presided over by industry big-shots such as Mohandas Pai, member of board, Infosys, Chetan Maini, chairman of the Reva Electric Car Company, Gowrishankar Hosakere, manager R&D, National Instruments, and Friedel Pickard, MD of Bosch E&S.
The prototype, intended to bridge the gap between electric cars and gasoline-driven models, was entirely developed by the Project Chimera team; backed by RECC, Bosch, and National Instruments.
“It is an indigenously developed vehicle,” a proud Karthik Bhaskaran, team leader of Project Chimera, said.
The car runs on a Lambordini diesel engine and a motor acquired from Agni motors in Gujarat. The hybrid provides a mileage of about 40 kms per litre and can attain a maximum speed of 90 kmph.
To accommodate the diesel engine, the engineers added an additional load of 70 kgs at the front thereby making it a vehicle for two passengers from the original capacity of four of the Reva. Another interesting design aspect of the car is that it has the feature of on-board charging and does not necessarily need an external power socket.
This is due to the presence of a supplementary power source. The use of a bio-diesel blend facilitates the reduction of harmful sulphur emissions to a great degree.
The members of the project, who come from Mechanical, Electrical, Industrial and Computer Science streams, teamed up to work on the planning and development of the model.
They designed and fabricated a separate bed to house the system and programmed the motor controllers as well as the hybrid controllers which form the brain of the car.
“Chimera is a mythical creature with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent. It’s a hybrid in itself and so the name,” explain team members Arun Nedungadi and Siddhartha Saraogi.
Mohandas Pai welcomed this partnership of industry and academia and emphasised the need for innovation. Chetan Maini urged more students to think out of the box, as the enterprising team had, and spoke of the importance of nurturing engineering talent in the country.
Pickard lauded the project by saying, “Success stories don’t just happen, they’re made.”
The senior students of RVCE, who will be graduating this year to better things, were optimistic that their successors would give the project new dimensions.
“This can now be made into a fuel-solar hybrid vehicle or even further improved upon. The possibilities are endless,” says Arun.
While a certain industry big-wig not so discreetly expressed his displeasure with the new airport’s infrastructure to a fellow corporate head before the event, the buzz clearly pointed at the industry’s hope and interest in tapping young engineering talent.