In comparison to its predecessors, the Eco-Runner 9 has reached a milestone in terms of innovation. The team improved the in-depth neural network to provide the driver with real-time information to optimize the race strategy, made changes to the composite thickness enhancing weight reduction and placed an in wheel motor to increase efficiency by changing from chain transmission to a direct transmission. In the end, the vehicle weighed only 42kg, which resulted in a 19% weight reduction with respect to the Eco-Runner 8, and was able to claim third place in the SEM Europe. Additionally they received the vehicle design award.
Eco-Runner 8 was the eighth iteration of Eco-Runner Team Delft. It became third in the Shell Eco-marathon prototype class, which took place in London. The team also won the “Vehicle Design” prototype award because of several reasons including its impressive “neural network” which allowed them to effectively communicate with the driver.
The hull of the Eco-Runner 8 was designed by means of wind tunnel tests. This was done in order to analyze the optimal body for the competition.
The vehicle had the electromotor placed in front of the rear wheel so that the vehicle was powered by means of a chain transmission. However, this chain caused a huge total energy loss during the race, which is why the next team decided to design the Eco-Runner 9 with an in-wheel motor to get rid of this energy loss. Furthermore, the Eco-Runner 8 was a bit too much overdesigned, which is why the team became third, and not first, at the end…
Eco-Runner 7 has been build in a time frame of 9 months to participate at the Shell Eco-marathon 2017 in London. The track in London is compared to the previous editions of the Shell Eco-marathon very dynamic, consisting of a hill and sharp corners. This makes it very challenging to drive very efficiently.
The Eco-Runner 7 is specially made for the track in London, for which a new concept for the entire powertrain system had to be designed. This was necessary in order to make sure that the Eco-Runner 7 performs at its most efficient point throughout the race. The powertrain system had been altered by implementing an external electric motor which is connected to the wheel with a chain transmission. In addition, the fuel cell has been improved by reducing its weight and increasing its efficiency.
Besides modifying the powertrain system new ways were discovered to reduce the weight of the Eco-Runner. Since every gram counts it is of utmost importance to make the vehicle as light as possible.
The Eco-Runner participated in the Shell Eco-Marathon of 2016 held in London. The major innovations were carried over in the aerodynamic properties to make it best among the world, as the shape was designed in such a way that the extensive aerodynamic CFD analysis could be fully optimised for racing conditions. The application of zigzag strips was used for the delay of the separation point of flow which ultimately led to a better performance in the race. The amalgamation of supercapacitors which are used to serve as a buffer between the fuel cell and the motor and also for inclination as required for London tracks which made it easier to quickly distribute a lot of power to the motor and so the fuel cell could constantly run to its optimal efficiency.
The fifth generation of the Eco-Runner participated in the Shell Eco-marathon of 2015 held in Rotterdam. The archetype was named as a one-man vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cell, becoming a category in the hydrogen class vehicle. The major specifications of the Eco-Runner 5 were carried over by the promising result of the aerodynamic shape. This led to being optimized for a variety of wind directions combined with flow patterns. Having the energy in hydrogen converted to energy in gasoline (liters), this allowed the vehicle to achieve a significant result of 3653 km/L and thereby claiming the title of most energy efficient vehicle in the SEM Europe 2015. Furthermore, a new aspect was taken into consideration by the team to use a front wheel steering mechanism enabling the vehicle to achieve a turning radius of just 8 meters.
The fourth generation of the Eco-Runner participated in the Shell Eco-marathon of 2014 held in Rotterdam. The prototype is named as a hydrogen class vehicle. The major specification changes in the prototype allowed the vehicle to achieve a significant result of 3524 km/L of hydrogen to petrol converted fuel consumption and again claimed the second place in the competition. Also the weight of the vehicle was around 38 kg and driver weight was 50 kg, which led to a drop in significant results from the previous version of the Ecorunner to the current version. During the race the average force generated was around 4 newtons, and a nominal power of 35 watts was also achieved.
The third generation of the Eco-Runner participated in the Eco-Marathon of 2011. Major improvements over the old vehicle include the aerodynamics and fuel cell efficiency, while the weight of the vehicle has dropped significantly. Almost no parts of the Ecorunner 3 were off-the-shelf: 95% of all components are of an in-house design or at the very least modified to suit the team’s specific needs. The Eco-Runner 3 achieved a result of 2914km/L of petrol fuel consumption and thereby the second place in the SEM Europe!
The second Eco-Runner is called the Eco-Runner H2. Its main improvement with respect to the first version is its completely integrated design. This resulted in an extremely aerodynamic shape and a light weight of the vehicle. On top of that the team is developing two propulsion methods for this new Ecorunner H2, actually resulting in two Ecorunners H2. The first propulsion method comprises a fuel cell driving an electric motor (hydrogen powered). The other method is a six-stroke petrol combustion engine.
The Eco-Runner H2 participated in the 2007 edition of the Shell Eco-Marathon, where it achieved the Dutch fuel efficiency record of 2282 km/L of petrol using the fuel cell set-up. This was despite a hastily repaired and therefore very poorly working cruise control – a feature essential for keeping all of the components at their point of maximum efficiency.
In its first year the Eco-Runner Team Delft built the Eco-Runner 1. This vehicle was built in a limited time and with limited resources, but it nonetheless achieved the team’s goal of running 500 kilometers on one liter of petrol. Even with a non-functioning fuel injection system, which was the most important feature of the vehicle, the team was able to achieve 557 kilometers per liter. This achievement encouraged the team to build a new Eco-Runner and participate again with a goal of 2000 kilometers per liter and a top-5 place in the Shell Eco-marathon at the Rockingham speedway.