RRC students building shark inspired eco-car for competition
McKenzie Sauder: CONTRIBUTOR
Mechanical engineering technology students at Red River College are designing and building an energy-efficient car from scratch for the Shel.
The Notre Dame Campus team has entered the prototype division and will compete against colleges across Canada and the United States. In 2018, the team will go to Detroit to showcase their hard work. “This is the first year we’re doing this marathon. Previously the college did a solar car project,” said Vanessa Marie, 32, who runs the Eco-Car blog on the RRC website.
The mechanical engineering technology course allows students to gain hands-on experience and contribute to sustainability.
The students have built cars for competitions before. In 2005, they built the Raycer, a single-seat car powered by solar energy modeled after a manta ray.
The eco-car is similar. The team decided to model the new Raycer on the body of a shark for an aerodynamic design, similar to how an airplane’s wing cuts through the air.
“It’s super exciting. There’s so much creativity in engineering,” said Marie. “When most people think of creativity, they think of the arts, but it’s in the creativity and design of engineering.”
“It’s not cheap, but we get money from the school and from companies. We’re also reading about other competitors and what they did for their cars,” said Mathias Harder, who manages the team that works on the body of the car. “We have to make the body of the car as small as possible while getting everything in.”
The challenge is building the car from scratch, which includes buying and fabricating parts. The car’s budget is around $30,000, including sponsorships to purchase expensive materials like a carbon fiber body and an engine.