Beeld: Eco-Runner
Author profile picture

Eco-Runner Team Delft presented its new car design to the public for the first time yesterday at De Grote Kerk in The Hague. In just nine months, the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) student team combined efficiency and safety in a hydrogen car that can drive on public roads.

The students are set to take the car to public rodes to set a new record for the longest distance on one hydrogen tank. They will drive it on the Elftstedentocht (the eleven towns route in Friesland, north of the Netherlands).

To increase the car’s safety so that it can participate in daily traffic, the engineers have added all kinds of features to the car, as found in a standard car. For example, the car has improved lighting, the hydrogen system has been made safer, it now has mirrors and a spray system, and the engine can be started with just a turn of the key for the first time. However, the students also tried to maintain as much efficiency as possible, saving on every gram so that the total weight is only 170 kilograms, and by increasing aerodynamics, for which another extension was added to the outside of the car to reduce drag.

Design, construction, and testing

Luka Jelic and Gido Baggerman, both engineers on the team, discussed the stages of design, construction, and testing. Luka Jelic: “Digitalization proved indispensable in the integral design of our project. The simulations in the Siemens software corresponded very well to the behavior and performance of the real car.” Gido Baggerman adds: “Especially with such a tight schedule, a ‘first time right’ is really crucial.”

Before the hydrogen car can receive the license plate, some tests still need to be carried out. Once the tests are passed, the Delft team expects to leave for Friesland at the end of June. Here, the team will attempt to improve the existing world record by driving ten laps (2,056 kilometers) day and night for 3 days on the roads along the Elfstedentocht on less than one and a half kilograms of hydrogen. The team will prove the efficiency of the Eco-Runner by comfortably beating Toyota’s existing world record (almost 1,300 kilometers).