Longer distance, less energy: this is the goal that the contestants in the international Shell Eco-marathon competition should pursue. It is aimed to encourage high school and university students from across the world trained at polytechnic establishments, to design and join races with energy effective automobiles. The crews of the Technical University in Sofia and of the Technical University in Varna will represent Bulgaria in the 28th edition of the global initiative that promotes efforts to economize on fuel.
Bulgarian teams have been part of the prestigious race for a fifth consecutive year, however this is the first time that they will take part in the category for sustainable mobility with electromobiles with a plug-in battery. The European finals are due from 17 to 19 May 2012 in the streets of Rotterdam, Holland. Some 3000 students will join them teamed up in 227 crews from 24 countries. The total length of the track of the race is 16,300 m.
„For the first time the finals will be held in an urban environment. The track will have 90-degree curves and this is a new and major challenge for the cars”, explains Mrs Kamelia Slaveykova, CEO of Shell Bulgaria. “We believe that our boys will fare well. By encouraging the Bulgarian involvement in Shell Eco-marathon, we should like to encourage the talent of Bulgarian students and we believe that they will represent Bulgaria in a worthwhile way at the European finals.”
Eco 1 is the Bulgarian electromobile designed by the students from the Technical University in Sofia for their fifth consecutive appearance at the race.
„Our project is an electromobile driven by an electric engine and an accumulation battery”, explains Radoslav Radev, one of the crew members of the Technical University in Sofia. “The idea of the race is to cover the longest possible distance with the lowest fuel consumption possible. Our crew has worked to create a car with the least possible drag, an aerodynamic shape, streamlining and low weight. We have also used special bearings that guarantee lower friction. The idea is to minimize loss as the car moves.”
The electromobile is powered by a 3-kg lithium ionic battery with a capacity of 0.5 kWh. In calculations made by the students, it has the potential to provide for a 20-km or 40-min drive with a single charge. Their main objective is to improve their results from last year when they ranked fourth in the urban car category. The team of the Technical University in Varna has joined the race for a fourth consecutive year. It has improved its petrol prototype that it has used since 2009. The automobile’s brand is Orel (Eagle) and its creators expect from it to cover a 1500 km drive with a liter of fuel.
„It is a three-wheel vehicle. Its coupe is made of fiberglass, and its chassis of aluminum, so as to make sure that the whole construction is light enough”, the crew’s captain Dimitar Dimitrov explains. “Our aim is to use 1 liter of fuel for the longest possible distance; to achieve energy efficiency and to cut carbon emissions too. In fact this is the objective of the Shell Еco-marathon campaign. We have worked hard and our car is relatively light, has a more powerful engine and we hope that it will allow us to score better results. All this has been done by the students from the Technical University in Varna. The design of the car was made by students from the engineering design major. Students from the engineering department calculated the size of the frame, chose the material for the coupe, as well as the parameters of the engine.”
Translated by Daniela Konstantinova