The Windsor Engineering team punched above its weight to take both fourth and ninth places in the Electric Vehicle Grand Prix hosted by Purdue University at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 13.
“The competition has been running for five years, and is dominated by American universities, so they had more funds and experience dealing with go-karts,” says team leader and mechanical engineering student, Sayed Hassan. “To be honest, we did better than what we had expected.”
The only Canadian team and one of only two from outside the U.S., UWindsor’s team raced two vehicles, one improving on last year’s design and an entirely new one.
“Last year’s kart won ninth place this year,” says Hassan. “We also built a new one, and that got the fourth place.”
The event requires competitors to replace the usual gas engines to run on lithium-ion batteries, which Hassan acknowledges is expensive, making it the most important part of the car.
“Our budget was limited compared to the other teams, but we managed to receive funds from the Engineering Student Fund and the Alumni Association, without which we couldn’t have completed the work,” he says.
The students credited technical advisor Bruce Durfy and advising professor Bruce Minaker for their help. Hassan notes the team continued to address challenges right to the day of the competition, as they worked day and night to make final adjustments.
“When it comes to the race, anything could go wrong,” he says. “Our chain was lagging, for example, but we were well equipped with many tools—we even had chain cutters.”
Hassan and his teammate are already planning for next year’s competition. They will work to perfect their car for future teams.
“We want next year’s team to do better than us,” says Hassan.
Besides Hassan, the team members are Fatir Ali, Karan Chhabra, Yisheng Cui, Ahmed El-Youssef, Tiankou Gong, Anand Janarthanan, Taehan Kim, Rehman Abdul Nasir, Haotian Wei , Hairun Xu and Kaicheng Yuan.