Author – Ayushi Ingole
The road transport sector is the most critical sector of the Indian economy that enables conveyance of goods and people across regions. However, there is an urgent need to bring in more efficient vehicles that carry goods with an optimum use of fuel. All over the world, efforts are being taken to improvise the vehicle technology to ensure that we don’t see fuel crises any more. This calls for the need of shifting to clean technology, which cannot be achieved just by posting ‘Go green’ status on social networking sites! We need to take drastic steps in this direction to build futuristic vehicles with least harm to the environment.
SAE India’s Solution To Pollution
Various automotive companies and research organizations are working toward building a hybrid and electric vehicles for the future that utilize fuel efficiently and emit less pollution. The Society of Automotive Engineers India (SAE-India) has taken up this noble task of organizing an annual competition to find innovators who can build an efficient vehicle. SAE-India conducts SAE Efficycle every year, a national level inter-collegiate competition for engineering students in India.
The name ‘SAE Efficycle’ is derived from the word ‘efficient cycle’. A team of 8 budding engineers are invited to design and fabricate a hybrid three-wheeled electric vehicle. The three-wheeler must be aerodynamic, highly engineered, safe and ergonomically designed (all the three wheels must not be in a straight line). The design should be commercially viable for mass production and the vehicle should be attractive to consumers in terms of visual appearance, performance, reliability and ease of operation.
The SAE Effi-cycle event aims to provide an opportunity for engineering students by setting up a trend of using eco-friendly vehicles in India and coming up with innovative designs. The event provides a recognized platform for students to tackle the real world problems which have future implications for the automobile industry. The event is held every year by SAE NIS at the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Chandigarh (UIET), with participants coming from the colleges all over India.
SAE Efficycle Competition
The event consists of two main sub events, the Virtual event and the Final Field event. The Virtual event is held at four different campuses across India where regional participants have to present a virtual and simulated model of their vehicle assisted with calculations and machine design concepts. The Final Field event exposes young engineering minds to the nitty-gritty of vehicular design and fabrication. The event culminates with a final durability race in which all shortlisted teams would take part in a 90 minute race across the UIET campus covering a lap stretch of over 1.4 kms.
The event strives to come out with a three-wheeled, two-seater vehicle that can cater to the day-to-day mobility needs of people and endure the wear and tear as well. The competition evaluates the vehicle design, cost structure market feasibility, along with technical tests such as breaking test, acceleration test, maneuverability and endurance test. The results are decided on the basis of combined performance for all these tests.
The competition rules also state that the participating vehicles must be conceived, designed and fabricated by the student team members only without any direct involvement of automotive engineers, racers or other professional technicians. Vehicles fabricated from a kit or published designs are also not eligible to compete. These restrictions help in unfolding the theoretical concepts of students and also makes sure that the idea of designing each vehicle is completely fresh. Moreover, SAE Efficycle ensures that the vehicle produced consumes no fossil fuel and is totally eco-friendly.
SAE-India’s intent in organizing the SAE Collegiate Design Series competitions is to provide direct hands-on experience to the students. In 2015, Sant Longowal Institute Of Engineering & Technology and the College Of Engineering, Pune won the competition. For 2016, SAE-India has already opened the registrations for this year’s SAE Efficycle event and has invited all innovative automotive engineers to take up this challenge to produce the green vehicle of the future.