ITE College West team's car can go from Singapore to KL on 21-cents of electricty
ITE College West team builds electric car for regional competition
For close to a year, a team of eight students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West spent three hours every weekend building an electric car.
The team, called Eco-Travellers, will be in Manila from March 1 to 7 to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2016.
Organised by Shell annually, the contest sees students from universities in Asia competing to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient cars.
The ITE team comprises students from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and automotive technology courses. Most are in their second year.
They will compete in the "Battery Electric" category and will face teams from universities in Asia, including two teams from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Team captain and mechanical engineering student Lee Shao Yong, 19, said: "The time spent working on the car on weekends is a huge sacrifice as it could have been spent with family or friends.
"But the belief in ourselves and the longing to see a completed car motivated us."
The students modified last year's edition of the car for the same competition. The team behind that car came in third, beating a team from NTU, which came in fourth.
Improvements to last year's car include using a teardrop-shaped outer shell to improve aerodynamic efficiency and replacing steel wheel bearings with ceramic ones to reduce friction with the ground.
The school spent about $5,000 on improvements to the car, which has a top speed of 60kmh.
It is so energy-efficient it can travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on 21 cents worth of electricity - the same amount used by an iron for an hour, said Mr Lee.
The car measures 1.65m by 0.95m by 0.8m, weighs 46kg and is made mostly from carbon fibre.
The greatest sense of satisfaction for the team came last September when the car was driven for the first time.
Electrical engineering student Natawat Hebnak, 21, said: "We clapped and high-fived each other when we saw the car moving.
"It was very fulfilling to see the project we have worked on for so long come to life."
Working on the project also taught the team the importance of trust, said Mr Lee.
He said: "There has to be a lot of trust among the team members... The driver must trust the team has built a safe car and we must trust the driver will not drive recklessly."
The team's main driver, Mr Muhammad Herisafiq Suhairi, 20, is not worried about the car's safety.
The mechanical engineering student said: "Our team members have done their best working on their individual components of the car.
"We are also aiming to win the safety award."
The team hopes to clinch first or second place and is confident it will do well.
The team is guided by three school lecturers, who also supervised the students on weekends.
Mr Chew Yong Hui, a lecturer in the electrical engineering department, said: "I see a lot of sacrifice, teamwork and passion in this team.
"I'm proud of them for being able to compete with teams from top universities in Asia."
Ms Rebekah Peh, 23, one of the two women in the team, is the second driver.
Ms Peh, who is studying automotive technology, said: "I have always been fascinated with the technology in cars.
"This project has spurred me to continue chasing my dream of becoming a car mechanic."
Mr Jason Leow, general manager of external relations for Shell Singapore, said: "As representatives of their country, the three Singapore teams are primed to inspire new sustainability benchmarks in their city, regardless of the results, and do Singapore proud."
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