India: Students at IIT Madras have developed an Electric Formula Racing Car, in a significant improvement over the earlier racing car developed by them with a combustible engine. The new vehicle is expected to reach 0-100km/hr acceleration in four seconds.
Formula racing is any of several forms of open-wheeled single-seater motorsport, the most popular of which is Formula One, with annual Grand Prixes held in venues across the world.
Team Raftar, a 45-member interdisciplinary team of students at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, had worked for more than a year on the design, manufacture and testing process of the vehicle called RF23.
Team Raftar says it expects to achieve significant improvement in acceleration, speed and lap time with the new vehicle.
“This car is three times more powerful. Earlier, we had a 33KW engine. Now, we have a 109KW motor. Other than that, the new car has been designed for acceleration,” said Karthik Karumanchi, a fourth-year BTech student.
“We expect to reach 0 to 100km per hour acceleration in four seconds,” said Parthi Lathi, a fourth-year civil engineering student.
The project also aims to fix the frequent battery fires in electric vehicles.
“We made sure our battery pack is modular and developed a robust cooling system that doesn’t overheat even under heavy battery loads,” said Arvind CAR, another member from Team Raftar, who is doing his BTech in Mechanical Engineering.
Responding to a query on how effective can such an advanced vehicle be in terms of its use by a larger population, IIT Madras Director Prof V Kamakoti, told NDTV: “For instance, now we face the problem of fire in batteries. That’s because of problems in battery and thermal management. If we test this system in a car at 160km/hr, running for 30 minutes on a race track, and then install the same system in a passenger car, it will be perfect.”
Team Raftar plans to compete in Formula Bharat in January next year, and in the acclaimed Formula Student event in Germany next August.
The team is hopeful that this new initiative will help develop a culture of formula racing across India. “These competitions at regular intervals help us validate our design,” explained Keshav Chaudhary, a fourth-year Civil Engineering student.