AIT Mechanical Engineering Students Developing Ireland’s First Electric Race Car

Students at Athlone Institute of Technology are developing the country’s first electric race car.

They plan to achieve this by using an electric motor used in the development of the Tesla Roadster with a converted Jaguar X-type.

Using an electric motor as an alternative to a combustion engine could eliminate fossil fuels from the sport of motor racing, thereby lessening its environmental impact.

Students in the third and final year of their BEng in Mechanical Engineering degree are working on the project – many of whom are keen motor enthusiasts.

In addition to engineering and fabrication work, the students will be expected to look at design, stress analysis of parts, efficiency studies and emission level studies.

Once the car is completed it will be brought to Mondello Park for testing. The aim of the project is to impress upon students the practical relevance to the theoretical aspect of their degree.

“The high level of practical content on our courses greatly improves the learning and understanding of the theoretical aspects,” said Breda Lynch, head of Department of Polymer, Mechanical and Design.

“The strategy we use for teaching and learning delivers engineers that are confident solving real world problems and are in demand.”

According to Ms Lynch, this is the first of a number of exciting future projects in areas such as sensor technology and autonomous vehicles which have cross discipline threads within the institute.

“We are currently conducting extensive research in areas such as the light weighting of polymeric materials, sensor technology, autonomous vehicles, AR/VR and have established strong links with companies interested in this space,” she explained.

Prior to the commencement of the project, each student was expected to manage costs in relation to the purchasing of parts. They also improved their communication skills when dealing with vendors and procurement departments.

In addition to the practical aspects and technical aspects of the projects, the students complete literature reviews and prepare presentations as part of their ongoing assessment.

The car will be aimed at Future Classics Race Series and featured in Retro Classics Magazine.

The project has caught the interest of companies and has been supported by Westward Scania, Dessault Systems Solidworks, Corcoran Crash repairs and Smyth Gates.

Athlone Institute of Technology is a vibrant, contemporary institution distinguished by academic excellence in teaching, learning and research. The institute has enjoyed considerable success in recent years, most notably being awarded The Sunday Times ‘Institute of Technology of the Year 2020, 2018 and Runner-Up in 2017. The institute also tops Ireland’s official league table for research and has been listed in U-Multirank’s ‘Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research’ in 2018 and 2019. Athlone Institute of Technology has ranked number one for student satisfaction nationally for six consecutive years

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