Solar-powered 3D printed car to race in eco-marathon

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students have built Singapore’s first urban solar electric car featuring a 3D-printed body shell. The NTU Venture (NV) 8 will race in this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Asia from 26 February to 1 March in Manila.

The NV8 is mounted on a carbon fibre single shell chassis and has 150 3D-printed parts. It will race in the Urban Concept category at the Eco-marathon. It took the team three months to print and assemble the vehicle.

Calling it Singapore’s first and probably Asia’s first 3D-printed concept car, Professor Ng Heong Wah – who mentored the team – said that the car pushed existing technology to the limits.

Ilmi Bin Abdul Wahab, a computer engineering student who led the development of the NV8, said: “We decided to go with a 3D-printed cabin made from lightweight plastic, as we wanted to maximise the internal space and driver’s comfort while still being able to keeping the weight to a minimum.”

The car can reach top speeds of 60 kilometres per hour while maintaining low energy consumption, he added.

NTU students also built the NV9, a three-wheeled racer that will race in the Prototype category at the Eco-marathon. The NV9 features hand-made silicon solar cells that are contoured to follow the car-shape. “This allow for maximum harvesting of the solar energy and a tilting mechanism in NV9 that can ‘lean’ in the direction of the turn to avoid losing speed,” said Prof Ng.

The Shell competition challenges students to design, build and drive a vehicle that can travel the furthest distance using the least amount of energy. Participating teams may enter vehicles using any of the following seven energy types: hydrogen (fuel cell), battery electric, gasoline, diesel, Shell Gas to Liquids (GTL), compressed natural gas and Ethanol E100.


Photo credit: Nanyang Technological University

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