The Indian Express | SANKET JAIN | Mumbai | May 30, 2016 |
The racing team of IIT Bombay has developed what they claim is the fastest Indian electric racing car Orca, which will race in July in Formula Student (UK), the international counterpart of formula one at engineering college level. The car, which has speed of more than 145 kmph and acceleration of 0-100 kmph in 3.47 seconds, was inaugurated by the students of IIT Bombay’s racing team at the PC Saxena Auditorium inside the college. Shardul Jade, a final year electrical engineering student who is part of the project, said this was not part of their curriculum and was made by the racing team after several brainstorming sessions at the laboratory, where students spend most of their time. Explaining how students are selected for the team, Jade said new students are first briefed about racing, and then made to discuss their technical knowledge. After this, they are tested on basic understanding and are finally interviewed.
With more than 70 students working on it, the project took around 10 months for conceptualisation and execution and underwent testing for two months. Students from more than eight streams of engineering were part of this project, one of them said. Rishabh Kapasi, a final-year student and team leader, said, “I learnt a lot about mechanical engineering and team work during the process of completing this project.” With more than 20,000 components, the team was successful in reducing the weight of the chassis (skeleton of the car) from 55 kg to 29 kg. To ensure safety of the driver and surroundings, a low-voltage safety system has been developed, students said. “The low voltage safety system monitors the temperature of the cells and keeps the high and low voltage systems separate”, explained Kapasi. The electric car can accelerate from 0 to 60 kmph in 1.86 seconds.
One of the professors who mentored the team said that he was amazed by the idea and students developed the project entirely on their own. Orca is the fifth electric car manufactured by IIT Bombay’s racing team and uses a battery pack of 95 cells, which will deliver continuous power of 80 kilowatt. Nilesh Bansode, chief mechanical officer and racer, who has been a part of team for three years now, added that the energy density which they were able to manufacture in this project using the packing friction technique can be compared to that achieved by TESLA. Tanushree Bagrodia, the chief sponsor of Orca, said, “We are proud of the all the achievements of the racing team of IIT Bombay.” She added that in one of the previous races, the motor controller was damaged in transportation. However the team competed in several other categories and for design documentation it was praised as one of the best in the world. – Courtesy