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Bright future for hybrid cars in the UAE

posted on 18/01/2014: 2079 views



Engineering students representing universities in the UAE and the Gulf region are now gearing up to participate in Taqa's first hybrid electric car challenge and put into practice what they have learnt in the classroom.

Teams will race hybrid petro- and battery-powered electric cars to record the longest distance and fastest speed.

Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KU) decided to participate in this competition with its nine-member team of senior and junior students.

"Taqa competition can provide us with an opportunity to engage in hands-on projects that can be used as a learning platform to appreciate, enjoy and learn more about various technical concepts,” Aidarous Al Hashemi, leader of the KU team participating in Taqa competition, told Gulf News.

"It took us two months to finish our design project. We faced challenges in finding the mechanical components that are needed in order to assemble the parts of the car. Additionally, integrating the circuit that is needed to connect the battery to the motor through the controller was not easy. We also faced difficulties in modifying the body of the car to have the maximum speed in terms of the aerodynamics of the car,” he said.

KU team has completed around 85 per cent of its project and now they are doing several tests to develop strategies that can help in meeting the competition's target of building the fastest and most efficient vehicle.

"Previously, we have worked on similar project that uses battery-powered electric cars...increase energy security and improve the fuel economy,” Al Hashemi added.

Abu Dhabi University (ADU) will also compete against eleven other teams in order to allow students to apply their theoretical knowledge and fuel their creative drive.

"We have worked on our car for one month and it is almost done,” Abdullah Abdul Jalil, 21, leader of the ADU team, told Gulf News.

"Of course, like any other project we have faced many challenges; however, with the support of our professors we were able to overcome them.”

"Panasonic, our sponsor, had given us car kits two months ago in order to develop our designs with the aim of making our car as fast and energy-efficient as possible,” Abdul Jalil said.

"The electrical side was the most challenging part in building our car because most of the team members are mechanical engineers and they were not familiar with this area, yet I believe that all of them were qualified enough to enter such competition,” Dr Hussien Ali, associate professor of mechanical engineering in ADU, said.

Hybrid electric cars are a great energy alternative that can sustain our environment. However, the charging time, slow speed and inability to travel long distances are still considered major challenges, he added.

"Electric vehicles can be only used for driving in the city, but not for a long road trips,” Dr Ali said.

The three-day challenge, which is organised by Global Education Energy Environment Organisation, will run from January 29 until January 31 at Al Forsan International Sports Resort Race Track.

More than 120 engineering students from universities in Oman, Qatar and Kuwait will take part in the 2014 Taqa GCC hybrid electric car challenge in addition to rivals from UAE University, Masdar Institute, ADU, KU and Petroleum Institute.

The competition will be hosted by the Petroleum Institute and supported by the Emirates Foundation. – Gulf News

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