Kochi

Engineering students develop electric go-kart, eye title in national championship

The electric go-kart developed by the engineering students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam.

The electric go-kart developed by the engineering students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For the 40 engineering students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam, the journey behind designing and developing an electric go-kart has been no less challenging and exciting than go-karting itself.

They formed the Team Black Hawk for the project in 2020, but the pandemic disrupted their plans. The senior students who had the technical know-how for the project and were to handhold the juniors in the team had to leave the campus before they could do so. It left the beginners learning their rope in mechanical and electrical engineering with a big challenge.

“We had to acquire the requisite skills before getting into the project. The pandemic meant that most of our discussions and even designing happened online,” recollects Renjan Jose Paul, leader of Team Black Hawk and a sixth-semester mechanical engineering student.

Their first offline session took place last November just a month ahead of the Indian Kart Racing in Noida for which they had registered. After a fortnight-long brainstorming, the kart was put together in just over a week.

All those efforts didn’t go waste as the electric go-kart developed by Team Black Hawk won recognition for the best innovation and best business plan in the event organised by the Indian Society of Innovative Engineers.

The electric go-kart developed by the engineering students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam.

The electric go-kart developed by the engineering students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The imported high-performing motor from China and the in-house developed Li-ion battery are the major USP of the kart weighing 150kg and with a top speed of 80km. The expertise extended by the startup, Hound Electric, helped the team to fine-tune the technical specs of the kart.

Team Black Hawk is now fully focussed on the premier Go Kart Design Challenge (GKDC) formerly known as the National Go Kart Championship organised by the Indian Society of New Era Engineering scheduled to be held in August.

“GKDC is a greater challenge as the vehicle is subjected to more intense scrutiny and has a tough rule book to comply with. While the motor will remain unchanged, we are focussed on further enhancing other specs including the battery,” said Mr. Paul.

Sprucing up the kart is estimated to cost ₹3 lakh, which the team remains confident of raising. An online crowdfunding initiative launched with a target of ₹1 lakh a couple of days has since mobilised over ₹10,000.

The electric go-kart being tested by the students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam.

The electric go-kart being tested by the students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“We had initially mobilised a small amount from our team members besides small contributions from donors though we initially had no idea about how to find sponsorship. But now we have a dedicated team for finding sponsors with a business plan with actual deliverables,” said Mr. Paul.

The long-term plan is to develop the kart into a legacy product of Mar College of Engineering with successive teams to develop innovative technologies to further improve it.


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 6:20:37 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/engineering-students-develop-electric-go-kart-eye-title-in-national-championship/article65403820.ece