Sunday, November 26, 2006
Trev (two-seater renewable energy vehicle)
Suppose you decided that you weren't going to use fossil fuels anymore. How would you get around?
Solar racing cars are able to travel 750km per day, at highway speeds, powered only by sunlight. Surely it is possible to use similar technologies to build a car in which you could do your daily commuting, but without the noise and pollution of a petrol engine.
Staff and students at the University of South Australia have designed and built such a car—Trev.
Its features include:
two comfortable seats, since more than 90% of urban trips have only one or two people in the car;
enough luggage space for at least two overnight bags;
270kg mass—because using a 2.5 tonne vehicle for commuting is ridiculous;
energy-efficient tyres, brakes and suspension;
a clean, quiet and efficient electric drive system;
compliance with road safety and worthiness regulations;
good performance, with a top speed of 120km/h; and
at least 150km of city driving before the car must be recharged.
Most importantly, it uses less than 1/5 of the energy required by a conventional car, and can be recharged using electricity from clean, renewable sources such as solar and wind.
And it doesn't look too bad...
The tandem seating layout gives good aerodynamics, good balance, and good vision.
The acrylic canopy, with integrated roll hoop, give the driver an unimpeded view of the road.
The canopy and door open on the kerb side of the car.
A 30kW IEMS brushless motor gives smooth, quiet acceleration from 0–100km/h in under 10 seconds.
A composite tub chassis, with foam and plastic body panels, gives a total car mass of 350kg.
A 45kg lithium ion polymer battery gives over 150km of city driving.
Low-energy tyres on low-mass alloy wheels give low rolling resistance.
The single rear drive wheel simplifies the suspension, and allows a simple, efficient transmission.
In 2002 two Industrial Design students develop some body concepts, and some engineering students look at aerodynamics. In 2003 they started the project in earnest, with 25 Industrial Design students working with an experience automotive designer to develop concept designs for the car, and seven Mechanical Engineering students working on initial engineering designs. They also did extensive performance modelling to show that the concept was sound.
In 2004, an Industrial Designer and five final-year Mechanical Engineering students completed the detailed design of the car. In 2005, a group of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students built and demonstrated the prototype car. In 2006, The aim is to get the prototype car registered and on the road.