Three sixth semester mechanical engineering students here have designed and developed a prototype vehicle which runs more than 200 kilometres per litre of petrol.
"It is a wonderful innovation and needs to be promoted considering the energy crisis and rising oil prices", said B Anil, the Principal of Government Engineering College, Barton Hill, Thiruvananthapuram, to reporters, Wednesday.
Incidentally, this prototype will be shipped tomorrow for the International Fuel Efficiency Contest, "Shell Eco Marathon", to be held at Philippines Feb 26 to March 1.
"This is the only entry from Kerala for the competition in which more than 120 teams from 16 countries will take part," said Bibin Sagaram, team leader of the project.
The vehicle is powered by a Honda GX35 engine and uses light weight materials, advanced aerodynamic techniques besides advanced tuning for extreme efficiency.
The design of the body of their vehicle is inspired by the golf ball which has a highly aerodynamic construction. The vehicle weighs just around fifty kilograms. The other two students Ronith Stanly and S.Vishnu Prasad along with a faculty of theirs will be taking part in the competition.
The project was undertaken under the guidance of two of their teachers Santhosh Kumar and Anver Sadath.
Santhosh Kumar told IANS that this project was part of a study that was funded by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) under the Technology Development and Adaptation Programme.
"The trial run was conducted and this is a vehicle that will take one passenger and has two wheels in the front and one at the rear. The steering wheel is similar to that of a three wheeler. The driver can sit in a reclining position and steer the vehicle. We will be making some more changes as we have time till July to complete the project," said Kumar.
The vehicle has advanced safety features including collision warning system, engine temperature monitor, seat belt. The vehicle's chassis is made out of light-weight aluminium and the body is made out of extremely strong fibreglass and polycarbonate.