Local ultra-energy-efficient car team, the Geec (Galway energy-efficient car ), has teamed up with Mondello Park International Race Circuit, the home of motor racing in Ireland, to push the bounds of automotive energy efficiency.
The Geec, which has been designed, built, driven and tested entirely by NUI Galway undergraduate students, will spend a day on the track at Mondello this Thursday (16 June ). The car’s electrical, electronic and mechanical systems, as well as its drivers, will be put through their paces before travelling to London for Shell Eco-marathon (SEM ) Europe 2016, the premier competition for student-built energy efficient vehicles.
In 2015, the Geec became the first ever Irish team to participate at the Europe-wide event, finishing 23rd out of 51 teams in the battery electric prototype category, with an efficiency score of 287 kilometres per kilowatt-hour, equivalent to 8,000 miles per gallon. Driving the 2015 Geec from Galway to Dublin would use just 13 cents worth of electricity.
The Geec 2.0 aims to improve on this performance through an aggressive campaign of vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamic improvements, electric drive optimisation and driver training. Testing at Mondello Park provides a truly unique opportunity for the NUI Galway students to put engineering theory to the test under realistic driving conditions not available anywhere else in Ireland. For Mondello Park International Race Circuit, the day of testing is a chance to play a key role in the shift towards a more sustainable future for mobility in Ireland.
Nearly 40 per cent of energy use in Ireland is for transportation, with 97 per cent of this figure delivered by imported oil products. The widespread use of fossil fuels in transportation is responsible for the release of about one quarter of Ireland’s climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from transportation are second only to those of agriculture. The NUI Galway students of the Geec team are pushing the boundaries of energy-efficient transport technology.
Shane Queenan, a final-year student of mechanical engineering and one of the car’s design team leaders, said: “Testing at Mondello Park is an ideal opportunity for us to fine-tune the performance of the car before we race in London. It will be truly rewarding to see the Geec running around Ireland’s renowned motorsport circuit.”
Dr Nathan Quinlan, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and one of the team’s academic mentors, added: “The team has made huge strides this year. The Mondello Park testing is the final preparation for SEM Europe, and will give the team invaluable knowledge about the car and experience of race conditions.”