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Eco-Runner Team Delft has won the Eco-marathon with an impressive efficiency. From June 1 – 3 we battled against teams from the whole of Europe and Africa for the title of most energy efficient car at the TT Circuit Assen. An efficiency of 486 km/m^3 hydrogen, which equals to 5407 km on one kilogram of hydrogen, was more than enough for first place and to break our own previous record.
Eco-Runner Team Delft is a multidisciplinary student team from the Delft University of Technology consisting of 23 students. Together we aim to promote a sustainable future by building the world’s most efficient hydrogen-powered city car. Since the beginning of August the team has been working on a completely new vehicle. For the development of the car we are happy we have continued our partnership with Eurocircuits, they help us produce our PCBs and gain control over the car. Ultimately, this has led to the Eco-Runner XII, our most efficient hydrogen powered city-car yet.
The Electronics and the Improvements
This year major advancements have been made in the electrical systems of the car. We redesigned the entire electrical system of the car from the ground up. This electrical system is a vital part of the car, responsible for controlling the drivetrain, informing the driver, gathering sensor measurements and many other things. The design was a balancing act between two important criteria, functionality, and efficiency. Eurocircuits was invaluable in this endeavour. Not only for producing the PCBs, but also for providing us with enough resources to experiment and iteratively improve. With the help of Eurocircuits we made large gains in efficiency. The overall power consumption of the entire system was reduced threefold! The largest improvement was made by efficiently driving the relays and valve that are a part of the safety system. Furthermore, by incorporating multiple PCBs into one large design, we minimise the number of microcontrollers. While radically reducing power consumption we were still able to gather much more accurate data on the car. Mostly by using external high precision ADCs and better sensors. We are very excited to see what improvements the next year can make with the support of Eurocircuits.
The complete car is full of innovations. Besides the electronics consuming less energy, a race strategy which can be calculated 25 times faster and a completely new and improved fuel cell and in wheel motor, the car is lighter than ever. By making the entire body of the carload-carrying, similar to the concept of a Formula 1 car, the team managed to save a lot of material. Also, many aluminium parts of, for example, the suspension and steering system of the car, have been replaced by carbon fibre parts, an even lighter material. This has resulted in the car weighing only 67 kilograms.
July 1 – 3, exactly a month after the race in Assen, we attempted to break the world record of driving the furthest distance on one single tank of hydrogen to truly show the potential of efficiency, as well as hydrogen as a green fuel, in the most extreme way possible. This all supports our goal of inspiring and motivating people and businesses to contribute to a more sustainable future.