By Gureni Lukwaro
American University of Sharjah (AUS) reached new milestone today, April 28, 2013, after unveiling its fuel efficient prototype car which is deemed to be the future of green mobility. The car was made mainly at the university’s manufacturing labs.
Named Eco-Stalion, the vehicle will compete in the diesel category at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2013, which will be held at Sepang Ping International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, July 4–7, 2013.
The vehicle was designed and built by a team of senior mechanical engineering students from the AUS College of Engineering. Team members are Mughees Khan, Badar Ud-Duja, Fouad Khan, Ridwan Murshed, Omar Jadallah and Ahmed Farhat. They worked under the mentorship of Dr. Shivakumar Ranganathan and Dr. Basil Mohammad Darras, both assistant professors of mechanical engineering. The team was also assisted by Manufacturing Lab Technicians Mr. Ricardo De Jesus and Mr. Ronald Almirez.
The car is designed to go the longest distance using the least amount of fuel. The Shell Eco-Marathon competition has many categories—including gasoline, solar, electric and hydrogen—but the AUS team chose to participate in the diesel category, in which they think they will perform better.
“We are very excited to have reached this far and now our dream is becoming a reality,” said Mughees Khan who is also the Team Manager. “At the beginning it looked like a long shot but now that we are unveiling the car, we are proud that we made it this far and we are encouraged that we will do well.”
“It has been a very exciting journey from an idea to now that we are unveiling our car,” said Omar Jadallah. “I am sure this experience will be very valuable in our future careers.”
“The project gave us an opportunity to actually apply the concepts we learn as engineers into engineering something even before we graduate,” said Ridwan Murshed. “Now the challenge is to compete and see how we measure up compared to other engineering students in Asia.”
“I think this is good evidence of the good education we get here at AUS as well as the excellent facilities provided by AUS for our learning because otherwise we would not be able to make the car at AUS,” said Badar Ud-Duja.
“We are very lucky to be part of this competition that seeks to design the car of the future which is fuel efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Ahmed Farhat. “We are passionate about environmental conservation, and it is good to take part in developing a car that will help conserve our environment.”
The team’s motivation for building a highly efficient vehicle was to reduce the carbon footprint on the environment. Apart from designing a car that intakes the least amount of fuel, the team also ensured that the vehicle is environmentally safe. Therefore, the team came up with an idea of designing the shell (body) of the car using recycled paper. The team was successful in building a recycled paper shell that has a high structural integrity.
“We want to also thank our professors, Dr. Shivakumar Ranganathan and Dr. Basil Mohammad Darras, who helped us, guided us and advised us every step of the way,” said Fouad Khan. “We also thank the lab technicians Ricardo and Ronald for supervising us as we used different machines in the manufacturing labs.”
Shell Eco-marathon is an annual event that challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. The goal of the competition is to go the farthest using the least amount of energy. The event takes place in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
“We are very proud of our students for this achievement. They have worked so hard to make this car, and it has been a really rewarding experience to work with them. They are an outstanding team of students, which is a good sample of AUS students,” said Dr. Ranganathan
“As good as it feels to unveil the car today, we still have a long way to go. We are still looking for sponsors to help us ship the car safely to Malaysia and back to the UAE; we need return air tickets for our team members to travel to Malaysia; we don’t even have a team uniform yet. So if anyone out there can help us with any of these, we will be grateful,” said Mughees Khan.
American University of Sharjah (AUS) is ranked as one of the top 450 universities worldwide by QS World University Ranking. For more information about the university please visit www.aus.edu.
Gureni Lukwaro is a Writer, Editor and Social Media Manager at the American University of Sharjah.