NUST students design country’s first-ever hybrid car

Published: April 26, 2010

The team members of Pak-Wheelers during Shell Eco Marathon 2010’s media launch event.

RAWALPINDI: They call themselves Pak- Wheelers, and their project, Prodigy. Their goal is simple — to hoist Pakistan’s flag in an “eco-marathon” in Malaysia.

A group of 11 students from National University of Science and Technology (NUST) are making Pakistan’s first-ever hybrid car. The group will participate in the Shell Eco-Marathon 2010 in July in Malaysia.

The event will feature around 100 teams from all over Asia competing for the top spot on the Sepang International Circuit, which is also used for Formula One racing.

The winning criteria — whichever team gets the best mileage out of a single litre of fuel. “Our design and simulations are complete, we are waiting for Prodigy’s body to be completed,” a very excited Hassaan Ali told The Express Tribune on Sunday. “We will begin live car-tests by the end of May,” he added.

“Our initial design was giving us a mileage of around 450 kilometres to a litre but we managed to improve that number to more than 700 km/litre after switching to a hybrid model,” said Faizan Zafar, another team member. “We have optimised the car according to the track,” Hassan Ali added. People intially laughed at the group’s ambition and project goals. But now, the proud and joyful faces of their friends and families tell a different story.

The group came up with the idea at a birthday party back in July 2009. They were inspired by another team from Pakistan Navy Engineering College who had participated in the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe 2009 in Germany.

They presented their idea to Ikhlaq Khatak, an associate professor at the College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (CEME) at NUST, who encouraged and mentored them to pursue it. Then onwards, Yahya Hassan Khan, Abrar Mehmood, Hafiz Awad Awan, Syed Hassaan Ali, Farrukh Ali, Raheel Ansar, Faizan Zafar, Zafarul Islam, Muneeb Shah, Muhammad Abdullah, Majid Ghafoor and Hassan Ali, started working on various aspects of the car’s design and its simulations.

Getting companies to sponsor the project was particularly hard. “Initially, we pitched our proposal to some 50 companies. Only BMW Pakistan responded to our pitch,” Hassaan said. Later, other companies started coming on board. “We are currently receiving funding from Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, NUST, Hypercomp and the Pakistan Army,” he added.

The group is still short of their projected expenses, managing to raise only Rs 1.4 million of the Rs 2.2 million costs they originally estimated. This sum includes the cost of transporting the car to and back from Malaysia. “The best thing that we did was to make this project our senior (year) project,” Hafiz Awad said.

A student is not allowed to graduate from CEME until they have completed their senior year project. All the promise and glory aside, the driving force behind the project remains simple. “We want to be able to hoist Pakistan’s flag in Malaysia,” Hassaan said.

“We want to be able to show a new face of Pakistan to the world, one that is considerably different than what the western media is showing,” he added, reciting the team mantra, “For some teams it’s a car, For some teams it’s a project For us, it’s an ideology An ideology to prove that Pakistan can be constructive.”

PRODIGY

- A hybrid vehicle combining a combustion engine with an electric motor to increase its efficiency.
-  It harvests energy lost during breaking and reuses it for running.
-  It uses super capacitor banks to store energy.
- The petrol engine produces a constant energy of 3.5 British horsepower and the remaining power comes from the super capacitor banks.
-  It uses a carbon-fibre body.
-  More details about the car can be found on the team’s website, http://pakwheelers.webs.com

Reader Comments (5)

  • zahid rashid
    Apr 30, 2010 - 2:30PM

    Asalam-o-alaikum

    Good man. the nation has pround at people like you.

    muhabat mujhay un jawanon say hay sitaroon per daltay hain jo kamand.

    Best of Luck
    zahidRecommend

  • Ayman Arshad
    May 2, 2010 - 3:36PM

    Dear Brothers
    I am a student of A level and I am working as Auto Technician
    in BMW Third Party Dealer and ZF Automatic Transmission Sales Manager in Jeddah.I may help you design a better Hybrid Vehicle as my Father has a long term experience with BMW and ZF.In the Latest Hybrid Technology the Torque Convertor is replaced by an Electric Motor connected to a Controll Unit which controlls the energy generated and sent to the Huge Power Bank for energy Storage.The Initial Torque must be given by the Normal Gas Engine to make the Vehicle flow on a gentle pace and then the Hybrid show will turn on,As the vehicle Uses the energy stored in the Power bank more energy is generated in the mean time.A Hybrid Power Guage will help the Driver see the hybrid energy remainig.Note as the energy stored in the Power bank is about to finish the Vehicle will be converted back to the Gas Engine.I have more Ideas and their digramatic representation of these ideas to share with you.I wish you all the best.
    Thank you. Recommend

  • Nasir Mahmood
    May 13, 2010 - 10:37AM

    All the best team.Recommend

  • adeel
    May 25, 2010 - 5:29PM

    respectable fellows,

    i greet you about manufacturing hybrid car. My interest is in cars, so when i heard about this my happiness was endless our. Pakistan proud on you. When its first model come in market i would be inshallah first one to buy this car from you
    i want to suggest that this car should be assessable to general public because our nation want to be prosperous and progressive……
    i also want to know about its practical and refined shape at what definite year……….

    regards
    adeel Recommend

  • Jul 29, 2010 - 12:09PM

    there is no place for ordinary man in this world, you have to achieve something great in life and i think you are doing great what mean exra-ordinary that will make the whole nation proud.
    i am happy that someone are using their full potential and great God gifted capabilities to achieve something special for us for their nation for our beloved Pakistan.
    Get your Ferrari of formula 1 gear to have your fine destination and smart dreams .. dear never accept Suzuki FX to get your FERRARI goals.
    at all i wana just say well done dear well done .Recommend

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