L-Building got a surprise visit on March 4th from the TU Delft Racing Team with their winning electronically-charged car. In conjunction with the sustainability theme of STAR’s Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle theme they tried to show students the capability of eco-friendly energy.

After winning the formula 1 student race, the Delft University racing team was invited by Sustainable RSM, to showcase their latest electric car. It was all under the theme of the Kyoto Lease a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEVs are a type of hydrogen fueled cars) to open the eyes of students to alternative fuels. “DEOdrive (a social enterprise looking to combine innovation, technology and education) approached us when they heard about the STAR event and suggested we join. We were also looking for people to market the technology and there would be a lot there so we did”, says Laurent Hubert (Operations Manager, studying Aerospace). The model of the car itself is miniscule and the only thing it requires to keep going are two batteries attached to either side of the driver and a start button. “Driving it is unlike anything else.” says Guido Van Koppenhagen (Chief Chassis, studying Aerospace) who has been on the team for two years.

Best car to date

All in all, this initiative by TU Delft has been ongoing for 13 years and the present model is the best to date. Unfortunately students couldn’t enjoy zipping around campus with it as it was deemed too unsafe. Still, just having and seeing it in the L-Building by the revolving doors was pretty impressive in itself especially when considering the effort charged into its making.

Direction and Speed

Four months and 80 dedicated engineering students working from 9a.m. until 12p.m. on the car’s body was required to create the final product. Considering the size of the team, everybody working on different components but on the same car body can be difficult but Guido added: “With one clear direction it’s manageable and this year I found things went even faster.”

Blood, sweat and wings

Characteristic of aerodynamics majors, the car had built-in wings on the side and rear as well as a diffuser (a curved plate on the bottom of the car) to improve its overall velocity. Contributing to the win and general impressiveness of the construction is how light it is. Without bouncing off the ground, this car accelerates from 0 to 100 in 2.5. The biggest motivation, says Guido Vankoppenhagen is ‘having the opportunity to apply all your theoretical knowledge onto a complex but practical project.’ NAH