FOLLOWING in their seniors’ footsteps, a team of five students from Multimedia University (MMU) in Melaka recently scored a major highlight in their engineering endeavour.
Team Grüne Welt, or “Green World” in German, came in second in the Vehicle Design Award (Prototype) category at this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Virtual Off-Track Awards for Asia and the Middle East.
They were the only Malaysian team to have gained recognition at the competition, which saw a record number of 198 entries from 64 teams across 11 countries. It was nearly twice the number of submissions from previous years.
The team – comprising mechanical engineering students Ng Kean Pin, Tan Jun Liang, Liou Jun Quan and Leow Tze Yi, and information technology student Ngwe Jia Le – bagged the prize of US$750 (RM3,108).
In an email interview with StarEdu, the team expressed their joy over their win.
“We had aimed for the Vehicle Design Award for some time, and we finally achieved it this year. Our hard work paid off,” they said in a collective statement.
They added that they had been spurred on by their seniors’ “outstanding result” at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2019 where they emerged top in Malaysia and sixth in Asia, besides bagging the Circular Economy Award.
The 2021 winning team let on that they opted to compete in the Vehicle Design Award category as they were confident of their Eco-V7 battery-electric prototype vehicle fulfilling all the requirements.
“It has a minimum aerodynamic drag, inspired by the shape of a shark’s profile. This reduces the wastage of battery energy while the vehicle is in motion on the track, thus making it energy-efficient.
“Not just that, its drivetrain and shell-chassis connections are all in modular design, which eases the assembly and maintenance process, as the parts can be assembled and dismantled easily,” they said, adding that lightweight carbon fibre reinforced structures and a direct steering system are used to minimise the vehicle’s weight. Driven by the organisers’ nod to their prototype, the team has stepped up their vehicle fabrication process, although their effort has been met with interruptions due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Despite the hindrances, we are determined to complete the fabrication of Eco-V7 by the end of this year,” they said.The team did not forget to express their gratitude for their advisors Lim Boon Kian and Liew Kia Wai – both senior lecturers at MMU’s Faculty of Engineering and Technology who have been their pillars of support throughout their contest journey.
“Fabricating and assembling Eco-V7 is not an easy task. We often encounter unexpected problems, such as mismatch of carbon fibre rod connections and misalignment of wheels,” they said, adding that they have also sought guidance from their seniors who have first-hand experience in fabricating earlier MMU Grüne Welt Eco series vehicles.
When asked how they will use the cash prize, the team said they have agreed to save it for their future vehicle development and fabrication.
Through their win, the team has also acquired 100 Virtual League points, propelling their ranking to 10th in the Asia Pacific region and 30th globally.
The global Virtual League is the latest feature of the Shell Eco-marathon Virtual Programme, enabling teams to accrue points across a range of challenges, including the Off-Track Awards and a brand-new Autonomous Programming Competition, which all feed into an ongoing league table.In a press release, Shell Eco-marathon global general manager Norman Koch said the 2021 virtual programme is designed to recognise and reward the students’ achievements throughout the year.
“From Virtual Technical Inspection to Off-Track Awards and global energy challenges like Pitch the Future, it aims to stretch and strengthen their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills from start to finish,” he said.
“While nothing can replace the excitement on the track, we hope that these virtual components will continue to provide opportunities to Shell Eco-marathon teams as we navigate these difficult times,” he added.
Team Grüne Welt shared that they are actively taking part in all the virtual events held by Shell Eco-marathon.
“We are in the midst of preparing for the Road to 2050 Bonus Challenge. We hope to win awards in both the Virtual Technical Inspection and the Road to 2050 competitions,” they said.
Shell Eco-marathon is one of the world’s leading student engineering competitions. Over the past 35 years, the programme has brought together STEM students from across the globe to design and build energy-efficient vehicles, with the aim of shaping a lower carbon future for all.