NUS students build Singapore's first electric race car; it goes from 0 to 100kmh in 3.9 seconds

From left: Muhammad Nazirul Syahmi Bin Abdullah, Muhammad Irfan bin Zakaria and Joven Thong Jie Wen with the R22e. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Engineering students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have built the country's first electric race car, which can go from 0kmh to 100kmh in 3.9 seconds.

That is the acceleration recorded by some electric vehicles (EVs), including Tesla and Audi models.

The R22e, which was officially unveiled by Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat at the NUS Kent Ridge campus on Tuesday (June 28), can hit a maximum speed of 125.4kmh.

Fourth-year mechanical engineering student Muhammad Nazirul Syahmi, who was part of the team from the College of Design and Engineering, said they had little reference resources to lean on at the start.

"Many of our simulations and tests had to be created from scratch," said the 24-year-old.

"As we did not have experience with high-voltage systems and EV technologies, we approached companies in the local industry to conduct workshops for us and self-studied under the guidance of NUS teaching staff, to learn how to handle electrical systems."

Students of the college have built a total of 19 internal combustion engine race cars over the past 21 years.

But the R22e, which the students spent 18 months working on, is their first EV race car.

Since the inauguration of the NUS Formula Society of Automotive Engineering (FSAE) Race Car Project in 2001, students from the college have been constructing formula-style race cars for the FSAE Michigan competition.

The inter-varsity event is held annually in the United States.

Formula-style cars have a single-seat with an open cockpit and open wheels.

Earlier this month, the team of 26 students entered the electric FSAE race car for static events at the competition.

The audience watching a video of R22e's construction process. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

According to the vehicle specifications provided by the team, the car can produce 80 kilowatts of power, and with its acceleration and top speed, can surpass its internal combustion engine predecessors' performance.

NUS FSAE project adviser, Professor Seah Kar Heng, said the rapidly growing global electric car market made it crucial for students to be equipped with knowledge about electric car technologies.

"As a school, we have to be in sync with the direction that the world is heading in, to move towards clean and green energy," said Prof Seah, who has been guiding engineering students in the project since 2001.

"I wanted the students to be aware of that, and working on this electric race car is a very good start for them."

Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat testing the R22e. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

In a speech at Tuesday's event, Mr Chee congratulated the team and said the launch was timely and mirrors Singapore's own effort to electrify its vehicle population.

"Our transition to EVs will bring new and exciting opportunities in the new green economy," he said.

"Engineering students can look forward to jobs and training in new areas, such as EV software diagnostics, battery and charging infrastructure."

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