The Rensselaer Electric Vehicle team recently competed with two cars at the Shell Eco-marathon in Houston, Texas. Both cars that competed in the marathon completed their runs successfully, taking the 12th and 18th places, respectively.
The first car that competed is named Photon, and the team has had it for the past three years.
“Photon is kind of clunky, in the sense that it has a steel frame, and it’s run off of a hub motor that’s a 36 volt system,” said Kristin Sechrest ’13, President of REV. “Our new car, Testa, is made out of aluminum so it is a lot lighter. The biggest difference between the two cars is weight.”
Testa placed 12th in the marathon this year, while Photon placed 18th. Testa was designed and built last year, but the team completely revamped its design for this year’s competition.
“We designed it completely ourselves, and we actually designed it last year, but we made major improvements to it,” said Sechrest. “It has a new steering system, a new body, and a new electrical system. The only thing we kept was the aluminum frame. We built a completely different car last year.”
Last year, Testa was only able to complete one run before the system essentially failed. This year, it completed six or seven runs.
Looking to next year, the team hopes to compete in the Urban Concept category with the addition of new members. Currently, the team competes in the Prototype category.
“As of now, it’s a prototype of the urban concept. The urban concept is a prototype of a real car,” said Sechrest. “A real car that would have windshield wipers, blinkers, all that. That’s our goal.”
The team is hosting a showcase of their two cars on Wednesday, April 24 in front of the Student Union and Russell Sage Dining Hall to showcase their team and attract new. The team currently has 15 members but is hoping to double in size.
Next year, the team will have three different subsections: drive train, body and chassis, and electronics. The drive train subsection will essentially work on anything that touches the wheels, such as the hydraulic brakes and steering geometry. The body and chassis group will be in charge of making the frame, body, and support system for the wheels and electronics. The electronics group revolves around all the electrical components of the car.
“We’re also looking at putting a solar panel on Testa,” said Sechrest. “Old Testa had solar cells, but new Testa does not. We’re really in the planning stage now. We’re looking at different designs and different materials we can use.”
For more information, visit REV’s website located at http://solarracing.union.rpi.edu/ which also provides a link to its Facebook page.