UNBOUND BARRIERS

Every evening, MAHE Automobile Workshop lights up to explore science, ideas & creativity. Around 250 people from different fields of engineering gather to learn, innovate and create. From badminton playing robots and hi-tech drones to super-fast race cars and energy efficient passenger vehicles all on display in this 200 square yard compound.

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In clockwise sense: SolarMobil, Team Manipal Racing, Formula Manipal and RoboManipal
Centre: Project Manas

Why come all the way to an automobile workshop every day, sit for hours, put in all the work and effort for a yearlong project? What makes us tick? What drives us?

“What drives us? I would say, the dream of building a race car, representing the country at Formula Student Germany, one of the most prestigious engineering design challenges in the automobile industry is what drives us.” says Ayush Garg, Team Leader Formula Manipal.

 Vivek Jaison, Design Head, Team Manipal Racing, is of the view that the thirst to finish what they started and see the car running with their own eyes is what brings him to workshop each day.

“It is simply a once in a lifetime opportunity, we are free to be creative and dream.” says Reuben M. John, Technical Head Project Manas.

 

The workshop environment is a hub of learning and creating.We see  Computer Science students working in Vehicle Dynamics or a Mechanical Engineering student working under an Electrical subsystem or an Aeronautical Engineer managing the whole team, branch has never been a limitation.

“It is very encouraging, it builds you up and at the same time very humbling as it exposes you to vast world of possibilities” says Vivek .

Sriram Polisetty, Team Head RoboManipal, believes that the presence of students from distinct backgrounds together in the workshop provides comprehensive work environment from everyone. “It is really a learning sphere” he adds.

“Very lively, exciting and friendly. We all learn something new each day. “  states Chanda ManuKoushik, Team Leader SolarMobil.

 

Being in the same compound has its perks .All the teams acknowledge the fact that the presence of other teams in the vicinity makes their work easier. Teams seek support from in each other in terms of mechanical tools, different contacts and technical guidance.


img_4768_cr2_embeddedMAHE Automobile Workshop, Eshwar Nagar

“We needed to use body panels in our car for a competition, for which we sought the help of SolarMobil, and they have been extremely helpful. “Says Reuben from Project Manas.

“Throughout the year, every team in the workshop has been helpful enough to give us whatever we need. At present, few of our tools are in transit from Germany and all the teams have been very supportive and have lent a helping hand. ” asserts Ayush from Formula Manipal.

ManuKoushik, believes that an obstacle within a team isn’t treated as just one team’s problem but all the teams join hands to overcome it. “A problem shared is problem halved” summarizes Koushik.

 

The feeling of mutual admiration and regard is something that can be seen across all teams.

“Formula’s passion and dedication is something we all really admire” admits Reuben.

Sriram from RoboManipal is of the view that Aero MIT’s work has been commendable, “as they have achieved a lot using few resources” he justifies.

I would say dedication shown by  RoboManipal” says Vivek from Team Manipal Racing.

“I really admire innovative and futuristic ideas such as Project Manas and SolarMobil.” states Ayush from Formula Manipal.

“All the teams are doing great work, even the youngest of teams like Mars Rover Manipal and Thrust MIT have made their mark in a very short period of time.” summarizes Koushik.

 

We, here at the workshop, are more than just acquaintances, we are unified by passion, determination and hard work.

“I think what really unites us is the fact that we all come here to learn something and make a difference in the society with the work we do” says Team Leader SolarMobil.

Vivek, from Team Manipal Racing believes that it is the drive and dedication in the work we do, that really brings us together.

I like to believe that we are all part of one big team, driving towards different goals but striving for excellence in whatever we do” sums up Ayush from Formula Manipal.

 

Like everyone else we too have our failures, we have our frustrations. These feelings and situations are inevitable, but still together we strive & survive. The support from college administration in making all of this possible, has been unparalleled.
It is not the big names or the laurels that make the MAHE Automobile Workshop what it is, but it is the passion, determination and the sense of responsibility towards the cause.

We may be divided in objective, but are truly united in purpose.

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Vibrant Vacations!

Greetings from Team SolarMobil!

“Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”

After a grueling and demanding period of about 5-6 weeks, we are proud to announce the completion of the chassis for Project 3.

Chassis is a very crucial part of the whole car. It is like a support system to the whole car. If the chassis design is not accurate, all the components of the car which are to be fitted into the frame will not mesh together and will result in poor performance of the vehicle.

Accuracy is the key

Mechanical head, Avaneesh Upadhyaya, speaking on the behalf of the manufacturing team says, “Accuracy is the most important factor in manufacturing. If the chassis is not accurate, all the components which are to be fitted will not mesh and will result in poor performance of the vehicle”. He further adds ”Overall, the entire chassis needs to be highly accurate, but special care is taken for the suspension box. This is done so because if the suspension points are misplaced, the entire stability of the car goes for a toss. The forces act in a haphazard manner and it results in weakening of the chassis.”

Hurdles are meant to be overcome

According to most of the team members, biggest problem encountered during the manufacturing process includes the lack of high precision jigs and fixtures for profiling of members and A-arms. The jigs and fixtures as per our designs are member specific making their procurement quite difficult.

The team managed by using makeshift jigs and multiple point referencing with respect to a local coordinate system and a global coordinate system. This course of action proved to be challenging and led to a delay in manufacturing process but in the end we were able to achieve a satisfactory level of accuracy in profiling of the members.

“I’m happy with the progress and the work being done by the technical team. Yes it is true that we have lost a few days, but any delay that we incurred was due to more external factors than internal” says Team Manager, Goheth Siddanth.

Exhilarating Experience

“Every Day in the workshop was like a theater play, we fought, we laughed, we played ,but we continued working no matter what. At the end of each day when the team left the workshop, they did with a stronger vision and a better understanding.” says Goheth. The relentless work and endless frustration incorporated a sense of responsibility, teamwork and team coordination among the team members.
“This wasn’t the first time that some of us (seniors) are working on a chassis of a car. But this was the first time we had the responsibility to ensure it was perfect and the feeling is nothing like it. It is a very thrilling experience.” asserts Pranav Gadamsetty, Transmission Head.

The team acknowledges the essential skill set they developed such as, on technical front, profiling and welding of tubes, drilling and grinding of metal and better understanding of various software.

DSC_0985.JPGTEAM SENIORS

The Road Ahead

The next step for structures subsystem is to fit the glass fiber bodywork onto the chassis with proper aesthetics and ensure minimum difference between the coefficient of drag obtained and the one which we estimated for analysis purpose. In vehicle dynamics subsystem, with the suspension box completed and the A-arms manufactured and painted they start with the placement procedure of the Arms onto the suspension box. The transmission components is to be mounted onto the chassis and tested.

We have already received motor controller, wiring components, vehicle dynamic and transmission parts, DAQ (Data Acquisition) components for the car and the work on them has begun.Procurement of other essentials such as motors, solar panels and battery and battery pack is in process and most of it will be obtained within the upcoming month.  

The team will resume work in the first week of August. The upcoming month will be dedicated towards the completion of bodywork and assembly of the car. The month after that will be dedicated to testing.

Once again we would like to thank our sponsors for all their support and belief in our cause.

THANK YOU !

Greetings from Team SolarMobil!

Team SolarMobil would like to thank all its followers, mentors, sponsors and benefactors on the successful launch of our beloved car – SERVe (Solar Electric Road Vehicle). The team is grateful to Manipal University and Manipal Institute of Technology for nurturing the talents that constitute the backbone of the team. The institution(s) have been our primary benefactors since our inception in 2011.

SERVe

SERVe was launched this April in Bangalore and unveiled at both Tata Power Solar and the FKCII Green Summit, 2015. As is evident from the extensive coverage we received from acclaimed news dailies and online publications such as Times of India, NDTV Auto, BBC Auto, and ScoopWhoop to name a few, SERVe has been able to capture the country’s imagination right from the onset. SERVe features aerodynamic curved design and runs on solar energy from its curved solar panels. The team received constructive criticism and was lauded by industry experts for its efforts.

SERVe- Solar Electric Road Vehicle

SERVe- Solar Electric Road Vehicle

SERVe is India’s first passenger solar electric vehicle which uses clean and free fuel with zero emissions and zero noise pollution. It has a high strength chassis and is lightweight. SERVe has an aerodynamic and aesthetic design obtained from the cut section of a tear drop. Custom made curved solar panels are used with energy generation at 17% efficiency. Further SERVe is energy positive, which basically means the car can not only generate enough energy for its own use but also supply power to an external grid.

SERVe has been able to showcase that passenger solar cars are not only a possibility but a necessity of the not so distant future. Imagine a world without all the depleting fuel we feel entitled to and replace it with cars that run on an energy source that is infinitely abundant! SERVe is one such step in that direction.

(To view the Tata Power Solar Launch Gallery, click here)

(To view SERVe in action, click here)

(To view the feature on NDTV- ” Clean Air, My Right ” series, click here)

Looking Ahead

The team seeks to improve on its work every year and thus has begun working on its third car. Buoyed by SERVe’s success and using it as reference, we at SolarMobil aim to build a new prototype and reach the American Solar Challenge, 2016. The competition is a 2000 km endurance race and is a melting pot of budding engineers and industry stalwarts who are vying for a cleaner and greener tomorrow. The challenge is backed by the Innovators Education Foundation (IEF) & the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

With the next car we aim to achieve greater speed and more power while focusing on driver ergonomics.

For more updates on the next car, catch us on our blog.

Alternatively, you can find us on our

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SolarmobilMIT

Or

Tweet to us on our twitter handle: www.twitter.com/solarmobil_mit

Until then, cheers!

Questions and Answers about Manipal’s Solar Car team.

  1. Introduce the team members. (Eg. class and course).

The team of Solar Mobil was started in 2011 with a vision of innovating and engineering towards making affordable Green Technology.

Our team comprises of 32 undergraduate engineering students from Manipal Institute of Technology. The team is interdisciplinary – consisting of students from Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics, Electronics & Communication, Instrumentation & Control, Mechatronics, Industrial Production and Automobile Engineering. There is an even mix of students from all 4 years which are guided by the faculty of the college.

The team is broadly divided into three categories– Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics, and Management. Each of these has a number of subsystems under it for better organized planning.

 

  1. Describe your car?  ( The cost, since how long you have been working, how did the idea crop up? What is the difference from your first car and this?)

We started our first project in 2011 with the car Freyr1 which was a single seater solar electric vehicle prototype. The idea cropped up while thinking about the global environmental scenario. The depleting fuel sources. The rate of hike of fuel prices is exponentially increasing. So we wanted to make a car which doesn’t pollute the environment and use the free energy (solar) available to power the car. Our current project “Serv-E : Solar Electric Road Vehicle” is four wheeled two passenger seater solar electric vehicle. We want to show to the world that a solar electric vehicle is a viable alternative. The length of the car is 4.4m ,width of 1.75m and height of 1.28m and weighs only 400 kgs. It uses 6m^2 monocrystalline silicon solar panels which can generate a power of more than 1kW at an efficiency of 20% which charges a battery pack consisting of lithium ion cells at a capacity of 13kWhr weighing 63 kg which gives the car a range of 250+ kms.

 

  1. Currently at what stage of production is the car?

Our planning has 4 phases i.e., 1) Preliminary design phase 2) Design and analysis phase 3) Manufacturing and assembly phase 4) Testing phase. We are currently in the manufacturing phase. The chassis construction and suspension system mounting is completed. We plan to complete the assembly by the end of  April after which we will move onto the testing phase which will consist of – mechanical component and compliance testing, electrical systems testing and safety testing.

 

  1. The major challenge before you and how do you plan to deal with it? ( eg. financial).

Since the energy generated from solar panels is very less. So, we try to save energy in every aspect possible. Throughout our project we have faced a lot of challenges in making the car aerodynamic, light weight and efficient.  Hence we need to have a very efficient power train system i.e, an efficient motor is a must which was provided to us by Agni motors which is 96% efficient. Also, financial glitches are a part and parcel of student projects, as many of the electrical components have to be imported. We are still in slack of monetary funds to purchase the electrical equipment and looking for perspective sponsors. We approach sponsors through various means for eg., attending various conferences and making contacts. We are fortunate enough to have companies trying to make this world a better place. Presently various companies are sponsoring in kind and monetary- TATA Power Solar, Altair Hyperworks, Agni Motors, Element14, MSME, Kelly controls, Technovision tools, KEI wires, Ewert systems, Novergy, Perface Impressions etc. However, the team tries to manufacture the mechanical components in-house to reduce the costs as much as possible.

 

  1. Describe the competition you would be participating in. The other teams from India that would participate in the event.

We look forward to participating in the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa which will be held in September 2014. The event is an endurance race that covers over 3000KM. The challenge begins in Pretoria and ends 8 days later in Cape Town. Our aim is to finish this challenge in the least time possible, interact with international teams and try improving our technology. It also serves as the best platform to test the endurance of our car across the varied conditions of the South African terrain.

SolarMobil Manipal is the only Solar Car Team in South India. The other two teams from India are the NSIT Solar Car & the DTU’s Solaris. However we cannot comment on their participation in the event.

 

  1. How do you plan to face the event? Is this for the first time that Manipal University is participating?

Yes, this is the first time that SolarMobil, the solar car project of Manipal University would be participating in the South African Solar Challenge. The key to any endurance race is to plan the energy consumption and strategize every move and we have closely analyzed the World Solar Challenge & SA Solar Challenge races over the past two years to make sure that our vehicle is fit for all kinds of scenarios. Also, as per our timeline, we plan to finish the car by April so that the remaining time can be utilized in the testing of the car.

  1. Faculty who have helped you.

SolarMobil Manipal has a productive student – faculty interaction. Our Team Faculty Advisor – Mr. Umananda K.V. and a technical advisory committee consisting of ten professors from various branches guide us through the various stages of the project.

  1. Any innovative means to get sponsorship. (Like adopt a solar cell) Elaborate on the same.

We successfully launched our first vehicle Freyr1 last year. Although the project seemed ambitious to begin with, it turned out to be a prototype car for us.  This year, we plan to make a car that is not just technically sound, but also a commercially viable option that can seat up to four people. We have come up with a campaign called ‘Adopt a Solar Cell’ in which we name each solar cell mounted onto the car to the person who has ‘adopted’ it, creating the much needed awareness about possible green innovations in the automotive sector.

For the first time, we are creating an automobile which is not just eco- friendly, but is ‘energy positive’. Our car is actually capable of producing energy that can be given back to the grid. Imagine a world with many solar cars which can create a power house at every parking station.

  1. When would the car be ready and how confident are you about the competition. How would the preparations go on?

With the present progress of the car, it will most likely be ready by mid- April. Although this is the first time we are participating on an international scale, our previous car has provided us with enough experience and expertise in this area. We are confident of our car’s caliber to compete with other international teams at the competition.

Making the car is an early stage of our project. For the competition, testing of the car and acquiring data and comparing with design values will prove to be a crucial point which will decide our performance eventually. This stage is where we, as students, will be able to learn the most.

Adding some more to the questions & answers :

We are proud to be a part of Manipal institute of Technology, a constituent institute of Manipal University. The college always supports various student projects which a very good gesture for strengthening research from the core. The college also has FSAE team, BAJA team, Robo con and NASA lunabotics team, SAE Aero design team etc on the technical side. All the projects are scrutinized by a board of elite professors, Director and Joint Director known as Student Project Scrutiny Board (SPSB) headed by Dr. N Yagnesh Sharma, Associate Director for Development and professor of Mechanical engineering department. Everyone in the board is always striving to improve the project inspiring us throughout the process. Our project SolarMobil complements the university’s motto of green university. We are still new to the field but intend to be good completion to other international team in coming years.

We would also like to give back to the student community, we encourage students from various colleges to take advices and we always reply to the queries asked to us, to inspire other teams from India and to contribute to the cause.

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Our OFFICIAL Media accounts :

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SolarmobilMIT

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SolarMobil_MIT

Gmail: team.solarmobil@gmail.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/solarmobilmit

SERVE : Our car for Sasol Solar Challenge 2014

The car for this season has been named as “SERVE ” which is an acronym for Solar Electric Road VEhicle” is four wheeled two passenger seater solar electric vehicle. The idea behind this car was that we wanted to show to the world that a solar electric vehicle is a viable alternative to internal combustion cars . The length of the car is 4.4m ,width of 1.75m and height of 1.28m and weighs only 400 kgs. It uses monocrystalline silicon solar panels which can generate a power of more than 1kW at an efficiency of 20% which charges a high power battery pack consisting of lithium ion cells which gives the car a range of 250+ kms.

The team has finished 90% of the chasis manufacturing process and would soon begin mounting various electrical components into it.

Stay tuned !