Eco-Runner XIII

Eco-Runner Team Delft, consisting of 23 students, is determined to set a new world record for the longest distance driven on hydrogen without refueling in June 2023 with their mini hydrogen-powered city car, the Eco-Runner XIII.

Each year, the team works to improve the design and aerodynamics of the vehicle to beat their previous records. Their latest car won first place in the Hydrogen Efficiency Challenge in 2022, achieving an efficiency of 5,407 kilometers per kilogram of hydrogen. Now they want to test whether their latest car concept can travel long distances without refueling.

The design of the Eco-Runner XIII is futuristic, resembling a blazing comet or a compact UFO gliding through the streets. The driver sits upright with a clear view through small windows along the line of sight. The shape of the car slopes down to reveal the four wheels, with hidden hinged panels that can cover and reveal the wheels, reducing material fatigue. From above, the design looks like half of a surfboard or boat, with a pointed tail and almost pointy tip that draws from the previous model, the Eco-Runner XII.

The Eco-Runner Team Delft aims to achieve the perfect balance between efficiency and durability, and to increase the strength of the vehicle for its world record attempt to cover more than 2,055 kilometers on a single run. To create a lightweight car, the designers are integrating carbon fiber into components traditionally made of steel, such as the steering pushrods and suspension beams, to reduce the car’s weight and drag while increasing speed.

The team also focuses on reducing energy losses within the car to ensure efficiency and speed. These losses include rolling resistance, aerodynamic drag, and the conversion of hydrogen to electricity or electricity to kinetic energy in the electric motor.

‘To minimize these energy losses, we designed and developed our new, custom-made electrical motor with an increased efficiency, and we optimized our powertrain system with a brand new fuel cell, tuned to our needs,’ the Eco-Runner Team Delft states.

The Team highlights the potential of hydrogen as a more sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional fuels in the transportation industry. Their hydrogen-powered car converts the element into electrical energy, producing only water vapor and heat, and demonstrates the versatility of hydrogen for use in heat production and fuels.

With electric motors lacking in range, hydrogen is being explored as a clean fuel option. The team is making progress in perfecting their design for the Eco-Runner XIII in the Dream Hall at Delft University of Technology.

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