Mahurangi College students Rikuto Suzuki, left, and Joseph Martin took out the innovation award with their entry for the regional Evolocity electric vehicle building competition.
Mahurangi College students have been in the garage grinding gears and melting metal in preparation for this year’s Evolocity electric vehicle building competition.
Takimoana Philips, Fletcher Ostling and Lars Noordhoek have re-engineered a push bike by adding a battery and welding the handle bars onto the turning fork, so that the rider lays down on the bike, lowering its centre of gravity.
It was the fastest craft in the drag race event and took the prize for most economical run at the regional competition held in Glenfield last week.
Lars Noordhoek achieves a top-speed of 50km/h on a “Tron-inspired” electric bike.
The bike sports a carbon fibre frame, which acts as a platform for the rider to lie on, cuts wind drag and provides protection for the inner workings.
“We made a battery out of small cells so that we could shape it into a triangle to fit within the bike frame,” says Lars who rode the bike on the day.
A hub motor has been installed on the rear wheel, which removes the need for a chain or traditional gear system.
A mounted electronic display provides the driver with information on speed, gearing and distance travelled. According to the odometer, the motor has done 135kms since it was first used as a testing model.
The bike has a top speed of 50km/h, and on race day rider Lars reached 34km/h over a 50m stretch before having to brake and come to a complete stop within 16 metres.
In the Evolocity competition, entrants ride their vehicle in a drag race and score points for speed and braking. They then enter a circuit to test its manoeuvrability.
Lars says there’s a bright future for electric vehicles, considering his homemade bicycle can run for three hours before it needs to be recharged.
“We need to get more advanced than this. So far it costs us about $2 for a 2km ride, traveling at 50km/h.”
Fellow students Joseph Martin and Rikuto Suzuki also built an electric go kart, and although its top speed is only 30km/h they won the award for most innovative engineering.
Whereas most of the vehicles in the competition consist of a metal frame with a seat mounted on top, theirs is made of a contiguous piece of carbon fibre strengthened by steel.
It took them six hours to shape out a mould from foam and then apply the carbon fibre, along with a curing resin.
They had the advantage of being provided with materials and know-how by local company Core Builders Composites.
Joseph, who wants to pursue a career in engineering, said it was a big step up from last year’s project, building LED torches.
Mahurangi College earned three of the six spots allocated for the Auckland region for the national event, which will take place in November in Hamilton.