On Sunday 3 July, the UJ Voltronics team with their Prototype Battery-Electrical vehicle finished in an astounding 15th place globally, ahead of teams from France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Turkey and Spain in the Shell Eco Marathon in London on a custom-built track.
The team consisted of eight Engineering students from University of Johannesburg (UJ), accompanied by a team mentor and mechanical engineer. The Eco marathon started on Thursday, 30 June 2016, with the award ceremony on Sunday, 3 July 2016.
Fifty teams registered in that category and energy type, of which 45 teams passed technical inspection and 30 teams registered valid racing results in London.
The team was the only African one to race officially. Teams from Tunisia, Morocca and Nigeria registered for the Eco marathon. These teams did not post valid racing results or did not pass technical inspection by Shell.
The UJ vehicle, dubbed “Nightfury” achieved a best racing result of 309 km/kWh. This was less efficient than itss previous best of 343,8km/kWh posted at the South African competition.
UJ Team mentor Dr Yuko Roodt, senior lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Science said: ”The race track at the Aquatic centre next to the Olympic Stadium in London was very difficult compared to the South African one. There were many more hills. It was not a known track, but a temporary one built for the event.”
He added:” There were many vehicles during the race days – up to 25-30 vehicles on the track at one time. We also had severely windy conditions, which influenced efficiency of the vehicle.”
With the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe each team is allowed four attempts during the competition. Each attempt consists of eight laps of 2.215km which had to be completed in under 43 minutes with the best possible energy or fuel economy. The best attempt counted for the final result.
The team was pleased with their vehicle’s results and believes the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe will help them prepare and improve their Prototype Battery Electrical vehicle for the African Shell Eco-Marathon race in August 2016.
Team leader and project manager Mr Pieter Erasmus said:” The Shell Eco-Marathon Europe gave the team world-class experience. We plant to improve on better visibility for the driver and driver comfort for the African Shell Eco-Marathon.”