Students from Dalarna University, Sweden, have won a competition for creating efficient rail-based transport, claiming world record in the process. Team Eximus 1 was competing in Delsbo Electric, where teams must design and build a battery-operated railway vehicle that uses as little energy as possible.
Delsbo Electric is open to college and university students. It was inspired by the Shell Eco-marathon, with the concept translated for rail-based rather than road-based travel. The track along which the vehicles must travel is 3.36-km (2.09-mi) long and stretches from Fredriksfors to Delsbo in Sweden. Its relief rises and drops by about 3 m (9.8 ft) along its course.
Vehicles must carry between one and six passengers weighing a minimum average of 50 kg (110 lb) each. Vehicle efficiency is measured on a per person basis, meaning vehicles carrying six passengers are not at a disadvantage. They must also be equipped with brakes and be designed not to derail.
Team Eximus 1 prepared for the contest over the course of 15 weeks. The team of four studied previous designs entered into the competition and even went so far as to design and manufacture the wheels for their vehicle.
In fact, Patrick Kenger of Dalarna University tells Gizmag that the only parts of Eximus 1 that weren't made at the university were the motor, the battery and the bearings. The wheels are made of steel and the rest of the vehicle, where possible, of aluminum, so as to keep weight to a minimum.
The vehicle is estimated to weigh about 100 kg (220 lb) and to measure about 5,500-mm (217-in) long by 1,500-mm (59-in) wide. It was powered by four 12 V, 45 W batteries linked together in parallel and a 500 W motor.
Kenger explains that, due to a lack of preparation time, the components chosen weren't necessarily the best choices or the most efficient. The motor in particular, he says, will be an area in which the team intends to improve when it competes again next year.
It took Team Eximus 1 about 20 minutes to travel the length of the track. Despite this, the motor was only used for around 110 seconds, with the vehicle coasting for the most part, as is the case with Eco-marathon cars.
The team's final efficiency score was 0.84 Wh/person-km (watt-hours for every kilometer traveled by each passenger). Delsbo Electric claims that is a new world record.
"This is a record for rail-based travel," explains project and competition leader Delsbo Electric Lars Gustavsson to Gizmag. "We have done research and not found any information about somebody or something traveling as efficient rail-based in the world. In fact, it seems like Eximus 1 achieved a lower energy consumption per person than the current Shell Eco Marathon record."
Delsbo Electric 2016 was held on Saturday May 28. Eximus 1 is now on display at the entrance way at the Dalarna University campus in Borlänge.
The video below shows Team Eximus 1's record run at Delsbo Electric.