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University of Oxford students building prototype battery electric vehicle in Shell Eco-marathon

Who are we?

The Energy and Power Group (EPG) and the Institute for Carbon and Energy Reduction in Transport (ICERT) of the University of Oxford are working together to enter a prototype battery electric vehicle, PEGGIE, in the 2012 Shell Eco-marathon in May at Rotterdam.

What are we doing?

The Eco-marathon is an endurance challenge, which pushes the frontiers of vehicle efficiency.  The battery electric vehicle competition class was introduced in 2011 where a record was set of 843 km on 1 kWh of electricity.  This new vehicle class presents an opportunity for the University of Oxford to apply its world-class research in electric vehicle powertrain components to a real-world competition.

Why are we doing it?

An existing vehicle aerobody and chassis will form the literal basis upon which the necessary technical and non-technical skills will be developed for the 2012 campaign.  Examples include component selection, system integration, testing, race strategy, logistics and public relations.  We expect that the real-world competition skills attained in the 2012 competition will be the nucleus around which a team is developed and maintained through the future.  Moreover, we hope that the several and various skills required for a successful competition entry will be interesting to and draw participation from students across the University.

PEGGIE will exhibit a number of technical innovations for the 2012 competition.  The seed vehicle aerobody, chassis and motor will be characterized to determine the best battery storage technology and driving strategy.  Innovations, such as real-time track strategy and optimization combined with a driver heads up display will be implemented.  A track strategy will ensure that the vehicle is driven in the most energy efficient manner on the selected course.  Real-time updating and optimization allows a new strategy to be determined if the driver deviates from the set course.  The driver heads up display will indicate how the driver is operating the vehicle relative to the spatial and energy optima.

Why do we need your help?

Notwithstanding the technical innovations, logistics support is required for the multi-day competition away from Oxford.  These include accommodation, board, transport and the administrative procedures necessary for international travel with both members and assets of the University.

We forecast £6,800 worth of products and services to complete the competition.  Much of the cost is associated with race logistics.  The nature of the competition and size of PEGGIE means that the number of, even expensive, components is small.  We expect £1,500 to be used for retro-fitting the seed vehicle chassis and aerobody to current race rules and upgrading the necessary components to realise our planned innovations. 


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Jonathan May

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