We have been involved in some amazing projects over the years (and some ridiculous ones too), but for us as engineers through and through, the ones we have had the most fun with are where we are presented with real technical challenges. Ideally ones that have been impossible or at least very tough to crack in the past.
The Solar car – Solar No1
One of our favourites was a solar car we developed for a madcap race across India. It was made for the Moss Family and it was so innovative that it appeared on BBC Tomorrow’s World before competing and ultimately winning in the race from Jaipur to Udaipur.
Solar No1 was completely designed and built by ourselves, right down to the steering system. We built a lightweight efficient 4 wheeled frame which originally had 8 x 80 Watt panels (that were reduced to 6 panels for safety). These doubled up as excellent sun protection for the hours spent at the wheel in the Indian Summer.
It produced 480 Watts of power for the 2 x 12 Volt batteries operating at 24 Volts. It reached a speed of 40 kph and carried 4 passengers for 100 kilometres in a day.
And then came the Electric powered Scooter and Motorbike
These were developed using (fairly) traditional Gel cell batteries so there were none of the luxuries that the small and lightweight Lithium Ion batteries the designers of today have the pleasure of using. But even with this weight handicap, they were brisk, easy to handle and had a good range.
They were built using existing frames as a basis, but they needed huge modification to get the drive systems to work and be reliable enough for everyday use. The trials bike had so much torque, it could practically pull vertically up a wall and yet it still had a range of over 35 miles.