Proto INSA Club

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You may have heard about the Shell eco Marathon. It is actually a car race organized by the famous company Shell Global. It involves students from all over the world. Participants are supposed to design, build and drive their own car. There are in fact several competitions, in America, Asia or Europe. The goal of these contests is not to reach the maximum speed but to travel the furthest with the equivalent of one litre of fuel: cars drive during a given time around the circuit at a fixed speed and organisers determine their energy efficiency. There exist in fact to classes and several categories. The Prototype class aims the maximum energy efficiency and user’s comfort takes a second place whereas the UrbanConcept class encourages more practical designs. The categories depend on energy type: internal combustion engine (petrol, diesel, ethanol, liquid fuel made from natural gas) or electric mobility, where vehicles are powered by hydrogen cells or lithium-ions batteries. Off-track awards promote other achievements like communication, design, technical innovation…

Now back to our campus! At INSA, the PIC (Proto INSA Club) participate to the race in the Prototype class since 1992, with an internal combustion engine. Last year, the PIC was part of the European top 10, and the eleven years old prototype EPIC travelled the equivalent of 1395 km with one litre of fuel… EPIC will take part to the Shell eco marathon in London from June 30 to July 3rd. However, the specifications of the race are changing, and a new prototype has to be made. Nearly everything is “homemade”, the frame, the hull and the wheels are built with carbon fibre in the premises of the club, in the basement of GI department, as well as electronics and motor, with the help of the sponsors. I let you imagine the challenges to overcome: upgrading EPIC, building the new prototype ICARE, communicating to have new members, forging and reinforcing bounds with the sponsors… Doing something by ourselves is always an enjoyable experience, particularly                at the first cycle where we have a lot of theoretical courses…

Written by Augustin Pigé

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