Temasek Polytechnic makes debut in Shell Eco-marathon
Female Temasek Polytechnic students chosen as drivers for team competing in Shell Eco-marathon
When every gram can make the difference between winning and losing, the women get to drive.
This was how Ms Shazreen Ramli, 19, and Ms Lin Lin, 23, who each weigh just 42kg, became the designated drivers of the Temasek Polytechnic (TP) team taking part in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia for the first time.
The others in the team, known as TP Eco Flash, are men who were tasked with designing the car, which runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.
The competition, which tests the energy efficiency of each team's self-built car, started yesterday with 120 student teams from 18 countries in the Asia Pacific and Middle East taking part.
The TP team, which is competing in the Prototype - Hydrogen Fuel Cell category, comprises six Year 3 and three Year 2 students who are in diploma courses in Clean Energy and Mechatronics.
On her involvement in the project, Ms Shazreen, a Year 2 student in Mechatronics, said: "I wanted to learn to drive and was attracted by this futuristic project."
Ms Lin, a Year 3 student in Clean Energy, said: "I thought this project was relevant because I can explore the possibilities of clean energy."
To prepare for the competition, they drove laps in the car on TP's running track two to three times a week.
With a driver, the car weighs only 94kg. About 80 per cent is made of carbon fiber, with aluminium and 3D printed spare parts making up about 10 per cent each.
Making the car as light as possible is vital in reducing its hydrogen usage.
The team's adviser, Mr Wang Lei, 35, a research & development engineer at TP's Clean Energy Research Centre, said: "TP has been a dedicated centre for hydrogen fuel cell technology for over 10 years.
"We wanted to encourage our students to go as far as they could in designing the car."
However, the designers found it a challenge trying to build the car from scratch because they had no design experience.
Mr Karlin De Merisha, 20, said: "It was tough to continually remodify the car because we experienced issues when sending designs for manufacturing.
"But it was heartwarming to see the final product clear all safety inspections."
Admission to the event, held at the Changi Exhbition Centre, is free. It ends on Sunday.