With the ongoing power and energy crisis in the state forming the backdrop, a number of final-year engineering projects seem to be aimed at providing cost effective energy solutions, albeit in their prototype versions. Students from Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Engineering College in Perambalur and Sudharsan Engineering College in Pudukkottai have modified existing models of the electric scooter and car, in an effort to address its present shortcomings.

Recharge on the go

Students of the mechanical engineering stream, C. Fredrick, K. Gopinath, D. Manoj Prabakar and S. Guru Ganesh Priyan from Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Engineering College chose to modify the motor unit of BSA Roamer Eco to enable ‘online recharging of the battery and increase mileage at no cost.' The bike has been equipped with dual lead acid batteries of 48 volts each and twin motors that have been connected to the front and rear wheel.

S. Charles, principal, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Engineering College, said, “While the rear wheel motor provides the propulsive power required by the scooter to move, the front wheel motor generates current that gets stored within the back-up battery.” This set-up makes it possible for the electric bike to recharge itself on the go, while retaining the external charging feature. The project was completed at a cost of Rs. 40,000.

Improvised electric car

As a model that tries to improvise upon the basic principles of a battery-operated car, the electric car designed by the team of eight electrical and electronics engineering students at Sudharsan Engineering College claims to integrate low costs with high efficiency. The drive system is fitted with a brushless (permanent magnet) direct current (BLDC) motor with a power rating that reads 48 volts and 600 watts. The BLDC motor is operated by a microprocessor-based controller that lets it achieve a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour.

The power required by the motor is supplied by a pair of 12-volt batteries connected in a series and charged using a trickle charger. The car, which is capable of carrying three persons , is rendered free from vibration and is provided with a uniform torque by the motor to ensure smooth travel.

The team of eight consisting of V. Madhubalan, Pothuru Mahidhar, V.S. Vinod, M.H. Nishar Ali, K. Murugan, S. Harjith, R. Prabu and T. Karthik, was guided by Prof. A. Ravi, who heads the department. Stating that the lack of fuel costs and the eco-friendly feature of the car as its main advantages, Prof. Ravi pointed out the rectification of certain issues in the prototype design of the car: “The overheating of the microprocessor controller was addressed by the use of a controller with higher rating and the introduction of a heat sinker; and the charging time was maintained at four to six hours through the use of high efficiency lead acid batteries.”