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Winning Warwick Racing team defend championship title in electric Grand Prix

09 Apr 2013

Engineering students at the University of Warwick aim to defend their championship title at this year's Electric Vehicle Grand Prix (EVGP) in the United States.

The WMG sponsored team of eight students have designed and built an electric-powered go-kart and to improve on last year's winning kart they have reduced the weight by 20%, making it lighter on the track.

The EVGP competition consisted of two races, the first on the Purdue University go kart track on 27th April and the second on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track on 12th May.

The team will not only be assessed on the performance of the go kart in the race, but also what they have done to educate their community about electrical engineering.

The team is supervised by Dr James Meredith, Senior Teaching Fellow at WMG, who said “After the winning performance of the Warwick team at the 2012 competition in the USA, we knew that our kart was a good platform. So for this year, we have concentrated on powertrain efficiency and removing weight. The team has spent significant time in the Vehicle Energy Facility at WMG optimising and matching each of the battery cells to increase performance. Furthermore, they have developed a new motor control strategy which will enhance power output whilst using less energy. On the chassis, weight savings have been found from use of titanium and magnesium alloys as well as advanced composite materials. We are looking forward to this year's competition and are hoping to perform as well as last year."

The student team includes Evangelos Contoleon, Jenny Chan, Sean Oliver, Matthew Duckhouse, Luke Lynch, Alex Kullmann, Sam Tracy and Mauricio Cavalieri Carreiro.

Project Leader Evangelos Contoleon said “When we first went into this project, we didn't know much about Electric Vehicles (EVs) but now we've built up this knowledge and we want to make sure it sticks around and that people are interested in it. EVs are going to be the future and it's an important project for students to be working on. We want to be successful in the competition and so far we've come fourth and first, with the competition only being two years old. We are pretty competitive and we want to build up our performance in the US and hopefully the UK."

Race driver, Luke Lynch, added “Considering last year's team won, I am expecting us to do the same. As the driver, I have a lot of weight on my shoulders. We can improve the kart all we like but if I make a mistake, it is all over. I have done a few hours in the kart now though, and the kit feels good. I'm hoping to bring the trophy home."

As well as defending their EVGP championship title, the team plan to launch a UK-based EVGP competition with the race being held at the Sustainable Motorsport Expo 2013 from 28th-29th September. The event will include both universities from the UK and the USA competing in a wheel to wheel race, design competition and an eco-challenge. The racing team have also been involved with the Imagineering Fair and the Nissan Formula Student event where they have showcased their electric-powered vehicle to the public.

The team are seeking more sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring the team, please email the Project Leader and Sponsorship Manager, Evangelos Contoleon at [email protected]

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