Team Futuramic, a group of 24 young engineering students from Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, have been designing prototypes maximising the utility of available resources in the most efficient way at the Shell Eco-marathon for three consecutive years. This year, they plan to take it up a notch.
Usually termed as problem-solvers, engineers are foraying into the space of energy efficiency where the possibilities of problem-solving are endless. Additionally, as India positions itself as an advanced market for electric vehicles and is preparing to have 100 percent e-mobility by 2030, there is an immense scope of development in the sector. This is what motivated Team Futuramic, a group of young engineering students, to build energy-efficient vehicles that reduce the exploitation of petrol, making fuel last longer.
The team of 24 headed by 21-year-old Abhinandan Prabhu Duggavathi (team manager) from Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, aims at contributing to India’s energy transition and working towards energy efficiency in mobility. Atharva 2.0, their latest creation, is a prototype of a vehicle that is futuristic in nature, going in hand with the theme of the Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2018 (SEM) that is being held as part of Shell’s ‘Make the Future’ Festival in Singapore between March 8 and 11.
Team Futuramic is one of the 12 Indian teams that have qualified for the second phase of SEM this year. The team also has a history of participating in the contest, registering their first significant win in 2015, placing first among participant teams from India, and seventh in Asia. “We have been part of the contest for three years. Our win in 2015 inspired us to keep at designing and fabricating a fuel-efficient vehicle. For the 2018 edition, we have a brand-new car, and an equally vibrant and talented young team,” says Abhinandan.
So far, the team has always given its best efforts to create and innovate the most feasible prototypes, with a focus on maximising use of available resources in a sustainable manner. “Our prototypes have been designed with the aim of maximising the utility of available resources in the most efficient way. And I reckon that before we talk about adoption of alternate sources of energy in mobility, we must talk about the adoption of innovative technologies in our cars. Technologies that will help us witness a drastic drop in air pollution, conserve fossil fuels, reduce our carbon footprint, and ultimately reduce global warming,” says Abhinandan.
A simple, lightweight yet strong chassis that builds the foundation for the entire car and an aerodynamic body with an efficient fuel sipping engine is what complements this ideology of simplicity with efficiency right from the first use. “This is what makes our prototypes different. They are designed with just the perfect blend of innovation, which makes commute easy. The future is based on utility and sustainability, and our prototypes fulfil both these criteria,” expresses the team.
Abhinandan also believes that with prototypes such as these the possible impact would be now, rather than in the future, considering that internal combustion engines still have some time left in their application. “Our prototypes come with suitable energy efficiency development, which is of immense importance to India, which aims to achieve 100 percent electric mobility only by 2030,” he adds.
The student team that is participating under the Gasoline category this year is keeping it simple. Atharva 2.0, their recent single-seater car showcases exactly what their earlier prototypes did - a lightweight yet strong aluminum chassis, engine management system, but this time with a brighter, more effective design.
Shedding light on the details of the design Abhinandan states that the prototype features a lightweight yet strong aircraft Aluminium 7075 chassis and has a 100cc motorcycle engine and is expected to provide a mileage of over 100 kilometre per litre in the Atharva Urban Concept. “On top of a 100cc fuel efficient engine of the aircraft chassis, we have an EFI (electronic fuel injection) kit that is the brain of the engine, which has been specifically programmed and tuned for high mileage and efficiency,” he says.
The EFI controls all the parameters of fuel and air mixture, along with the timings of firing. Furthermore, the power is sent to the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox, while the lightweight alloy wheels all around with disc brakes ensure a secured and mighty stopping power.
This aerodynamic body with an efficient fuel sipping engine makes the model perfect for commercial use, says the team. “Our concepts are created from a rigorous research pipeline and series of practical experiments and the prototypes are selected solely based on outcomes. Atharva 2.0 can serve as a practical solution to the pressing need of optimizing fuel utilization in the real world.”
Being a group of young students and making it to this point despite their first win at SEM has come with a lot of challenges, shares Team Futuramic, the most significant of which was finding sponsors for this project. But these challenges only made them strive that much more harder to reach their end goal.
The team tackled persistent hurdles by reaching out to like-minded people to illustrate their idea, set up a crowdfunding platform, and organising fun activities and games during college fests to make ends meet. On a parting note, they say, “We hope to be the voice behind energy-efficient fuel consumption, setting an example for manufacturers to achieve high mileage and low fuel consumption travel. We would love to showcase India on the international map at the event to demonstrate that our country is ready for transformative action.”
With their latest design in place, Team Futuramic's primary goal is not only to be a serious contender at SEM but to also revolutionise the way fuel is consumed; achieving pathbreaking results while maintaining a reduced carbon footprint.