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The University of Queensland UltraCommuter Project


The University of Queensland UltraCommuter Project Dr Geoff Walker Sustainable Energy Research Group School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, UQ – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The University of Queensland UltraCommuter Project

The University of QueenslandUltraCommuter Project
  • Dr Geoff Walker
  • Sustainable Energy Research Group
  • School of Information Technology and Electrical
    Engineering, UQ

From the SunShark
to the UltraCommuter
Outline three key points
  • Fossil fueled cars are headed for extinction,
  • (Whats wrong with cars now)
  • But you cant take a Solar car shopping.
  • (Tell me about Solar cars are they the
  • The solution is a Hypercar
  • and our Hypercar is the UltraCommuter

Drivers for change in the Australian Automobile
  • Reduce oil consumption a finite resource
  • Reduce oil imports to achieve increased energy
    security and improved balance of trade
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce urban pollutant emissions
  • Reduce the number and size of cars in the first
  • Many more sensible reasons could be given these
    are perhaps the most topical and pressing.

The End of Cheap Oilby Colin J. Campbell and
Jean H. LaherrèreScientific AmericanMarch
1998Global production of conventional oil will
begin to decline sooner than most people think,
probably within 10 years
World oil production in decline by 2010
Has Demand exceeded Supply?
Has Demand exceeded Supply?
  • Oil prices are now more than 45 per cent higher
    than a year ago, having gained 36 per cent in the
    past three months.
  • But even the psychological US70 a barrel mark
    would still be US20 below the all-time
    inflation-adjusted peak price for crude oil set
    in 1980.
  • Analysts said yesterday that the major reason for
    yesterdays price spike was not concern about
    terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia or worry about
    Irans nuclear program.
  • Rather, traders were punting on a belief that US
    oil refiners would strain to meet domestic petrol
    demand in coming weeks while also storing enough
    heating fuel for the northern hemisphere winter.
  • Added to those supply problems was a report this
    week from the International Energy Agency
    revealing that non-OPEC nations were failing to
    deliver as much oil as expected this year,
    leaving a stretched OPEC to fill the void.

Weve now passed US70 barrel
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Aside A DVD worth viewing
  • Oil Depletion and the
  • Collapse of The American Dream
  • http//
  • http//
  • Also worth a good read
  • http//

Moving from Oil to sustainable energy generation
  • In the near future, Oil production will fall, but
    energy consumption will continue to rise.
  • We need to find fossil alternatives, preferably
    green and sustainable
  • Ramping sustainable alternatives up will take
    time, money and land
  • In the interim, we will swap to coal and gas, and
    (perhaps) curtail our consumption.

Reduction in Oil Imports and Increased Energy
Percentage of Australia's oil and petroleum
products consumption sourced from imports
(Australian Energy News, 2002).
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Australia from
  • In 2000, 15 of Australias GHG emissions are
    from transport sector AGO, 2003
  • Road transport represents 90 of this total
  • Cars contributed 45 Mt of CO2 equivalent
    emissions, or 8 of net national emissions in
  • http//

Pollutant Emissions in Australia from Transport
  • Fossil fuel combustion, particularly by motor
    vehicles, has been identified as the largest
    single contributor to urban air pollution.

Percentage Contribution of Motor Vehicles to Air
Emissions in Major Australian Cities (Motor
Vehicle Environment Committee, 1998)
More Cars, Bigger Cars,
  • Registered passenger vehicles in Australia
  • Over 10.3 million in 2003, up from
  • around 8.3 million in 1993.
  • (GRW 24 in 10 years)
  • 522 cars for every 1,000 people in 2003, up from
  • 469 cars per 1,000 people in 1993.1
  • (GRW 11 faster than pop in 10 years)
  • A shift towards four wheel drive cars, which made
    up 17 of new vehicle sales in 2002, up from 8
    in 1992.

More kilometres, Much more fuel
  • Each passenger vehicle travelled an average
    14,200 kms in the year to 31 October 2002, up
    from 13,400 kms in 1998.4 (GRW 6 in 4
  • Average passenger vehicle fuel consumption has
    remained around 11 to 12 litres per 100kms over
    the 1998 to 2002 period
  • more cars x more km x same fuel consumption
  • much more fuel
  • Measures of Australia's Progress The measures
    Transport, at
  • 1 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003, Motor
    Vehicle Census, cat. no. 9309.0, ABS, Canberra
  • 4 Australian Bureau of Statistics 1991-2000,
    Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, cat. no. 9208.0,
    ABS, Canberra

A car powered by the sun a solar car would
  • Use no fossil fuels
  • Produce no Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Produce no Urban Pollutant Emissions
  • But can it be done?
  • Could you drive a car only on the power of the
    sun from say Darwin to Adelaide?

World Solar ChallengeDarwin to Adelaide, 3010km
The World Solar Challenge
  • Max of 8m2 of solar collection (cells)
  • Max of 5kWh of energy storage, as determined by a
    maximum allowed weight of batteries for a given
  • Racing is allowed from 8am to 5pm each day, with
    some mandatory media stops.
  • Many other rules see

UQs SunShark solar racing car
  • SunShark's commercial-grade solar array (rated
    16.0 per cent efficient) produces 1200 watts (1.2
    kW) under ideal conditions
  • All aspects of design are focussed on making most
    efficient use of this limited power supply
  • Dimensions 6m x 2m x 1m, mass 190kg
  • Teardrop aerofoil shape, low frontal area, and
    special low rolling resistance tyres reduce drag

Our own history SunShark
  • Twice covered 3010km from Darwin to Adelaide
  • Also competed in Japan , Syd-Melb
  • Won GM award for Technical Innovation in both 96
    and 99

SunShark Team
SunShark 1999
Aurora 1999
From Solar car to practical commuter
  • Solar racing cars are optimised to cruising from
    Darwin to Adelaide on the power of 8m2 of solar
    cells in the minimum time,
  • Not for going to work.
  • Solar car racing has pushed the technology
    envelope, but not provided a practical
    transportation solution.
  • How can we apply this technology?

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Return to first principles and design cars around
user needs
  • Typical car
  • Holden Commodore, a top selling passenger car
    (2004 14,411, 43 of large car segment)
  • Five seats in 4.9 x 1.8 x 1.5m, 1580kg package
  • Range of 600km on 75l tank

Return to first principles and design cars around
user needs
  • Typical usage
  • Urban commuting
  • 80 of trips are less than 10km and over 90 are
    less than 20km 1992 SEQ Household Travel Survey
  • Average occupancy of 1.3 passengers
  • Passenger luggage usually less than 100kg

The HypercarSM Concept
  • Introduced by Amory Lovins and the Rocky
    Mountain Institute (RMI)
  • Read Natural Capitalism Creating The Next
    Industrial Revolution by Paul Hawken
  • See and

Adopt the HypercarSM philosophy
  • A drastic departure from typical automotive
    design mentality, it suggests a clean-sheet
    whole-system approach to vehicle design
  • Ultra light mass through use of advanced
    composites and lightweight metals
  • Ultra low drag through reduced aerodynamic drag
    coefficient, compact packaging for low frontal
    area and low rolling resistance tyres

Adopt the HypercarSM philosophy
  • Hybrid-electric drive, which
  • increases engine efficiency
  • Allows alternative power sources (fuel cells)
  • facilitates regenerative braking, which offers to
    recapture up to 70 of vehicle kinetic energy.
  • Reduced accessory loads, through selective
    glazing, insulated body panels and efficient
    accessory components.

Dont compromise performance, utility, features
and comfort.
  • The best technology achieves nothing if no-one
    will use it.
  • Customers will buy hypercars because theyre
    better cars, not because they save fuel just as
    people buy compact discs instead of vinyl
    records. (Lovins, 1996)

Application The UltraCommuter
  • http//
  • Small 2-seat commuter vehicle with cargo area,
    dimensions L/W/H 3800/1600/1300mm
  • Low drag design, requiring 6kW to cruise at
    100kmh and equivalent consumption of 2.5L/100km
  • Lightweight aluminium chassis with modular
    composite crash structures and body panelling.
    Target weight is 600kg including driver.

The UltraCommuter
2-seat sports coupe
Lightweight, aerodynamic body
Ultra light aluminium chassis
Fully-featured interior
Li-Ion batteries
Solar cells
High-performance electric drivetrain (wheel
Natural gas range extender
Low rolling resistance tyres
Performances Acceleration 0-100kph in 8
seconds Top speed 150kph (electronically limited)
Exterior Design Concept
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High performance yet efficient electric drive
  • Direct drive brushless DC wheel motors mounted in
    the rear wheels,
  • better than 90 efficient under most conditions
  • Providing a total of 1000Nm to achieve 0.5g
    acceleration of 0-100km in under 8 sec.
  • Provides all rear braking force, allowing 100
    regeneration except for emergency braking (when
    front discs must also assist).

Wheel motor currently under test
Wheel motor casings and internal rotors
(no magnets)
Ultracommuter Energy sources
  • 75kg Lithium Ion battery pack will provide 180km
    range and 60kW peak power.
  • Car mounted solar power would offer 12,500km each
    year from the sun
  • Natural gas fuelled range extender will provide a
    500km range.
  • Many other fuel sources were considered as part
    of a well to wheel (W2W) study

Solar Charging UltraCommuter is Viable
  • A 2.5m2 solar array on the UltraCommuter will
    collect enough energy for 12,500km of travel, 87
    of the annual travel needs of the average QLD
    passenger vehicle.
  • In summer, the average daily solar driving range
    (SDR) is 48km, In winter, 24km
  • The UltraCommuters battery pack allows for four
    consecutive days of poor weather without
    resorting to grid charging.

Daily solar driving range distribution - Summer
Daily solar driving range distribution - Summer
Fuel options for the UltraCommuter
Full-cycle Assessment Of Alternative Fuels For
Light-duty Road Vehicles In Australia, Andrew
G. Simpson, 2003
Example Li-Poly Batteries
  • 40Ah, 3.7V
  • 215 x 220 x 11mm
  • 200A continuous
  • 1.1kg
  • US 207.20 ea
  • 70 cells 260V, 10kWh, 104kW, 77kg
  • and US 14 500 (cells only, factory gate)
  • http//

tzero now uses Li-Ion
  • Uses 18650 cells as used in Laptops
  • Uses 6800 of them! 68 parallel, 100 series
  • 370V, 50kWh, 165kW, 350kg
  • tzero now 500 pounds lighter, with 4 times the
  • Lighter mass better performance.
  • More energy range now over 300 miles.

Creation of the Body model
  • Body model created for the RACQ Bulldust to
    Bitumen and Beyond (BBB) exhibition.
  • Commissioned in late 2004, delivered in April
  • Touring Queensland for next 18 months.

Shoebox model
Concept Drawing
Computer model
Milled from Polystyrene foam
Sanded ready for painting
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