Team Zon: Chasing the Sun
Saswat Abhinab David | Apr 11, 2016
For an automobile enthusiast, there is nothing comparable to the rush of adrenaline as you see fast cars whizz past each other at high speeds. But as an engineer, what do you do about the fact that these super fast cars consume fuel at a haemorrhaging rate of 1 litre per every 1.33km? Simple - build one that runs on solar energy! And that’s exactly what Team Zon, a 20 odd member group from our institute, did.
Team Zon is a venture by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), NIT Rourkela Chapter. They designed and fabricated a solar power vehicle and participated in the Electric-Solar Vehicle Championship (ESVC) organised by the Imperial Society of Innovative Engineers (ISIE), Punjab in the Radharaman Group of Institutes, Bhopal.
The initial rounds of the competition were held at the Radharaman Group of Institutes and the grand finale was at the RPM Go Kart Track, Ratibad. ISIE-ESVC is Asia’s largest solar championship which aims to build the student’s interest in renewable sources of energy. It is supported by the Government of India and is the only professional solar powered vehicle event is Asia which promotes research work on renewable energy. This innovative initiative was taken in 2013, where the event was organised at Lovely Professional University, Punjab. ESVC has since then been held every year in different states and universities.
76 cars from 55 cities of 19 states had participated in the competition which was judged by experts from renowned automobile companies, IIT-Madras, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune and a technical committee from ISIE. In all, 121 entries were received of which 76 qualified for the dynamic round, which was held from the 25th to 29th of March. Of these, 36 made it to the Endurance round. Team Zon bagged the award for the Best Business Plan among the 121 teams, for which won INR 10,000 cash and a trophy, and were placed 2nd in Design.
Team Zon comprises of 23 students of different disciplines - Mechanical, Industrial Design, Electrical, Electronics and also Ceramic Engineering. Their car is the first solar powered car from NIT Rourkela made by undergrads, the other being the one made by the postgraduate students under Dr. D.R.K. Padhi. It comprises of a 400W solar panel, 1000W motor, 48 V battery and is rear wheel driven. The journey from paper to road took 8 to 9 months of painstaking work.
Gourav Gupta, captain of Team Zon was all praises for his team, “I am blessed with a great team and our success was because of the combined effort of all the members who worked hard day and night to complete the car. The work was compartmentalised and everyone was assigned a different department – braking, suspension, SAC bills etc. and they all did their job very well.”
Unfortunately, even though the team was among the top contenders in the initial phase, the transmission chain came out of place during the acceleration round, because of which they couldn’t compete in the further stages.
“Had that not happened, I’m confident that we would have made it to the top 5. The judges were very impressed by our design. We were the best team from the east.” is all the dejected captain could say.
Although they didn’t win the competition, the event was a learning curve and the award, a confidence boost for the team, “We thought we would be the best there, but after going there, we realised that the competition is immense. It was a great brush up to our knowledge – we learnt a lot of things.”
Team MM appreciates the dedication and effort of Team Zon and wishes them luck for their future endeavours.