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Meet the car of the future

Say hi to Archer, who is literally going places

C1Images by Noel B. Pabalate

Meet Archer. Archer is a green-and-white striped car replete with doors, a steering wheel, a luggage compartment, upright seating, wind screen, lights, and other car accessories. Archer can go up to 35 kilometers per hour. Looking at it, you might think that Archer is just one big giant toy car, but if you drive it around, you’re sure to realize that this car-from-the-future, with a few more adjustments, can be driven around the metro, without consuming too much fuel.

Archer is battery-powered. Archer is the future of cars.

Made by De la Salle University’s (DLSU) Eco Car Team, Archer  was created in 2014. It has since been proving itself more and more road-worthy. It placed second during the 2015 Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM). During last year’s SEM, in a specially designed street circuit at the Rizal Park in Manila, Archer set the highest record in the Urban Concept-Battery Electric Category with a mileage of 78km/kWh. It also ranked second place in the Petrol fuel subcategory after recording 159km/l.

“Archer is a car that is aerodynamic and lightweight because it’s made of carbon fiber and composite materials. It also has its own android app called App Archer-Board that can be installed in your phone to monitor the car. It will measure its speed, temperature, battery level, efficiency, and power computer consumption. It also has a cruise-control circuit inside the car that calculates the optimal speed and optimal acceleration to make it more efficient. It’s automatic, the driver only has to steer,” says Carlos Castillo, a Computer Engineering senior and member of the team.

SEM is a student innovation competition that challenges students from universities across the world to design, build, and drive the most energy-efficient cars.

Now, two years later, Archer and the DLSU Eco Car Team is set to make the Philippines proud when they make their mark at the Driver’s World Championship at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

“A new addition to the rules for the Driver’s World Championship is that we have to make our own motor controller. In the previous competitions, the teams are allowed to buy their own. Now, the resourcefulness of the team is also being measured,” says Carlos.

The Driver’s World Championship is a gathering of the Urban Concept team winners from the regional Shell Eco-Marathon competitions in Asia, United States, and Europe. More than the competition, it encourages innovation and development of technology for greater energy efficiency in transportation. Participants in the contest are given hands-on opportunity to make fuel more efficient through the use of real-life experience and technology. The challenge is to measure cars which can go the farthest on a set amount of fuel.

“For the competition, we developed a new trunk for Archer and we developed the breaks and steering control because the contest requires a high-speed car. So we had to catch up on the 50km/h maximum speed. We also tested new motors and made new batteries,” says another member of the team Calvin Ng, a sophomore taking up Mechanical Engineering.

ROAD WARRIORS De La Salle University’s student representatives for the Driver’s World Championship at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

ROAD WARRIORS De La Salle University’s student representatives for the Driver’s World Championship at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

The DLSU team will be joined by other representatives from Asia: Team Sadewa from Universitas Indonesia (winner of the Urban Concept Gasoline category after doing 275 kpl in one of its attempts); ITS Team 2 from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, also from Indonesia (winner of the Urban Concept Diesel category after doing 250 kpl in one of its attempts); and Team Bumi Siliwangi 4 from Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (second placer after setting 78km/kWh in the Urban Concept Battery-Electric category). Team NTU-3D-Printed Car from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore was also invited as a wildcard candidate after setting a 77km/KWh in the Urban Concept-Battery Electric category.

The winning team will earn, among other prizes, an invite to spend a week of learning and exploration with the Scuderia Ferrari team at their factory in Italy.

After the competition, Archer will finally retire as new cars will be developed not just for the eco-car marathon, but as a model of more efficient energy-saving cars for the future that demands them.