DTU chasing new world record

Friday 09 May 14
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DTU Roadrunners students will soon be travelling to Rotterdam to defend their Shell Eco-marathon title—the unofficial world championship in car fuel efficiency. On 7 May, the team and DTU presented their enhanced car to a large group of media representatives and loyal supporter HRH Prince Joachim.

“We won’t be going back to the oxcart, so what you are doing here is something that our children and grandchildren will be taking for granted. It’s great to watch,” said HRH Prince Joachim, when the DTU Roadrunners students showed off their top-tuned eco-car to the media and others. The prince was given a private demonstration of the eco-car Dynamo’s motor by team leader Simon Klint Bergh before Pernille, its driver, took it out for a spin.

"“If you come home with a cup, it is a testament to engineering achievement. “This is where the future lies!” "
HRH Prince Joachim

Even though DTU’s eco-car team already holds the world record in driving on the equivalent of one litre of fuel with their Dynamo car, they want to repeat the success—and this time even better. Last year’s victory saw the car travelling 612.3 km/litre—this year, they will attempt to drive 650 km. A perfectly achievable goal according to the students.

Camshafts and test drives
A new rolling road has, among other things, contributed to improving the car in relation to last year. A rolling road is a kind of treadmill running machine for cars which has enabled countless test drives. In addition, new camshafts and a regenerative brake system will help to topple the record, said Nikolaj Dagnæs-Hansen, a teaching assistant on the course, which sees students earning ECTS points for building the vehicle.

“As things stand, we have a car which runs extremely smoothly. We have devised an electromagnetic clutch which reuses the energy the driver uses to brake to accelerate again. Also, we have designed new camshafts that optimize the motor so it runs with fewer revolutions.”

‘Green fingers’ in the motor
This is the 30th time that Shell is inviting students from technical colleges and universities around Europe to participate in the Shell Eco-marathon where they compete to see which of the self-built super-efficient cars is able to drive farthest on the equivalent of one litre of fuel. The race is staged in the streets of Rotterdam from 15-18 May, with more than 3,000 students from 24 countries participating with 220 cars.

For the eleventh year running, a DTU car will be on the starting grid, and the team has never returned home without a trophy. This year, the students will be competing in the ‘UrbanConcept’ class, where the car has to meet the same practical requirements as a ‘real’ car. The vehicle has to be just as long and as high, and have four wheels as well as space for luggage.

DTU’s Senior Vice President, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Marianne Thellersen, the head of the course, Associate Professor Jesper Schramm, and HRH Prince Joachim praised the Roadrunners students for their commitment and talent for eco-efficient cars—and the slightly sleepy-eyed students after late nights of test driving gladly received the praise. The last time the car was on the track was only a few hours earlier at 4 am, and several team members had not slept for days.

However, they will not rest until victory is won. And it will pay off for the whole industry, said HRH Prince Joachim:

“If you come home with a cup, it is a testament to engineering achievement. “This is where the future lies!”