Kerala engg students’ electric ‘Vandy’ wins awards at global event

Members of Pravega, a team of 19 students from the mechanical stream of the college, who designed the electric car. Photo: Special arrangement

Thiruvananthapuam: An electric car designed by a group of students of the Government Engineering College Barton Hill, Thiruvananthapuram, has won laurels at the International Energy Efficiency Competition, Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) 2022.

The vehicle designed with the mentorship of Technopark-based Acsia Technologies won the special mention titled International Award for Safety from Dupont and an honourable mention in the category of International Award for Technical Innovation.

The competition was held at Pertamina Mandalika circuit at Indonesia. R Bindu, Kerala Minister for Higher Education, supported the team in accessing grants and other government assistance.

The electric car designed by Pravega, a team of 19 students from the mechanical stream of the college, is named ‘Vandy’ (a colloquial Malayalam term for vehicle).

“It's truly an accomplishment for us. This project offered us a unique opportunity to utilize and widen our engineering skills to create something which is sustainable and environment-friendly. Our gratitude goes out to everyone who supported us, especially to Acsia Technologies for their invaluable mentorship as we embarked on this mission,” said Kalyani S Kumar, team leader, Pravega. It is among the five teams that qualified from India for the international level of the event.

It took the team almost 10 months to complete the prototype electric car that received much attention from the panel. ‘Vandy’ weighs almost 80 kg with a top speed of 27 kmph.

“It is very exciting to see our students winning two major achievements at a global competition. As a mentor, we are proud to have guided the students from the college in creating an electric vehicle that embodies this value. Our goal is to continue to mentor our student community, imparting relevant knowledge, increasing their industry readiness, and supporting their growth towards becoming world-class engineers," said Jijimon Chandran, founder and CEO, Acsia Technologies.

‘Vandy’ weighs almost 80 kg with a top speed of 27 kmph. Photo: Special arrangement

The vehicle design was based on the bio-mimicry of Tiger Sharks who are known to eat plastic and other such waste in the sea. The body streamlines trace the form of a tiger shark and are also made from recycled- biodegradable PLA, 3D printed and assembled in a closely stiffened structure format. The under-body is made from a composite that consists of recycled cloth and glass fiber.

The electric drive-train features an innovative battery thermal management system that the team developed using the PCM 1-Tetradecanol, a research paper which has been published in the journal of Sustainable Energy Technologies and assessments by team Prevega. Additional systems include a drowsiness detection system using non-intrusive sensors that utilises AI to identify if the driver is fit to drive or not and act accordingly.

Team Pravega received support from the Additional Skill Acquisition Programme, Kerala during their programme on industrial safety held at CSP Mananthavady, and is also supported by various governmental and non-governmental organisations like CCI, PTA-GECB, Tech Education Quality Information Portal (Tequip), Translational Research and Professional Leadership Centre (TPLC), Advanced Diploma In Automotive Mechatronics (ADAM), Kerala Technological University, Acsia Technologies, Canara Bank and Red Maple Realtors.

The vehicle was made under the guidance of Bijulal D, principal, Government Engineering College, Barton Hill, Thiruvananthapuram, Bindu Kumar, HoD, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Anish K John, faculty advisor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

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