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Students Gear Up For Another Try At Car Contest
Ten Indonesian student teams from several universities are ready to compete against rival teams from schools across Asia in designing the most energy-efficient car. “We are prepared. We are very excited and we believe we have a very good shot at winning,” Muhammad Yusuf, manager of the Rajawali ITB team from the Bandung Institute of Technology, told the Jakarta Globe. The 22-year-old mechanical engineering student said he and his teammates have worked for months to finish their Rakata ethanol-fueled concept car. The Shell Eco-Marathon Asia will be held from July 6-9 at the Sepang Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. “Our project was inspired by the concern that our fuel stock is decreasing rapidly and is not renewable,” he said, adding that plant-based ethanol was easier to renew. The Rakata combines two previous concept cars made by Yusuf’s seniors for past editions. “Last year, the cars made by our seniors were able to run 130 kilometers on a liter of ethanol. This time, we set a more ambitious target. We hope Rakata can run 600 kilometers on the same amount of fuel,” he said. The car, made of 100 percent carbon fiber, is light but strong. Without the driver, it weighs just 60 kilograms. Yusuf said Rakata was far from ready to be mass-produced because it was created for competition, not convenience. “We still need a lot of guidance and financial support to make this car ready for commercial purposes,” he said. Gerry Julian, manager of the Nakoela team from the University of Indonesia, said he was optimistic his team’s concept car, Garuda Kesavha Evolution, could win the competition but also be mass-produced. “Our car is super light. It’s only 50 kilograms without the driver,” he said about the car made of fiberglass. “It’s fast and it’s fuel-efficient. We are optimistic the car can run 1,000 kilometers with one liter of gasoline.” The 20-year-old UI mechanical engineering major, who says he has been interested in cars since his high school days, registered immediately when UI announced it was selecting students to join the team for the SEM Asia. He passed a series of demanding tests before he was selected for the team. “It’s challenging, exhilarating. We really believe this car can be used commercially without damaging the environment because we took extra care on the emissions issue,” he said. Yusuf and Gerry are aware that Indonesia faces some staunch competition, including from Singapore — long known as a leading country in technology. However, the two are optimistic. “We have experience in using ethanol as an alternative fuel. We have checked our competitors. It’s a relatively new experience for them,” Yusuf said. Gerry agreed, noting that Indonesia has won before and was capable of winning again this year. Anditya Yudistira, manager of the Mesin ITS 3 team from Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) in Surabaya, East Java, said he and his teammates were proud of their Sapu Angin 3. The car, weighing 95 kilograms, uses an electronic fuel control unit. “With an electronic system, we can better control how much fuel we want to use. It’s flexible, and in the end we will save a lot of money,” Anditya said. Danardono Agus Sumarsono, the supervisor for UI’s Sadewa team, which produced the Kalabia car, said he was surprised by the talent and dedication showed by students in the team. “They were willing to work long hours, all night long in a workshop trying to come up with the best idea to make the car better. It’s very inspiring,” he said. Indonesia’s flag flew high at the 2010 SEM Asia, with the ITS’s Sapu Angin 2 taking the top prize in the Urban Concept Combustion category with 237.6 kilometers per liter, surpassing the 182 kilometer per liter record set by the winning team for the same category at SEM America held in Houston, Texas, that same year. The team behind the Sapu Angin 2 also won the Urban Gasoline Fuel Award. The Yellow Makara and Zamrud Khatulistiwa teams, both from UI, snatched second and third prize in the Urban Concept Combustion category. ITB’s Exia team took home the People’s Choice Award as the most popular team with more than 65,000 votes. A total of 121 teams from 14 countries will join SEM Asia 2011.taken from The Jakarta Globe