"Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the future". People hear this all the time. But only a few pause and ponder about why this is true. What has changed?
Ever since Bertha Benz first drove the first motor vehicle for around 180 kilometres to her hometown of Pforzheim, the automobile industry has revolutionized. Motorsport has been the bedrock of innovation and the harbinger of change in the industry. It is said that the first race happened the moment the second automobile was built, showing that racing was in the DNA of the automobile industry. This competitive nature has necessitated innovations, and it indicates that the industry, since its inception has not been part of an interconnected ecosystem. It has its small ecosystem on which it thrives. The bolts, the pedals, the tyres, and even the wires are designed explicitly for a vehicle or the industry. The rise of the internet of things, and Elon Musk's Tesla (credit where it's due), the industry has been forced to move to an interconnected ecosystem. An app now controls a vehicle, it also has over the air updates, and this leads to better physical performance of the car. So, yes, the innovations seen in other industries have helped the automotive world transition to the uncharted territory of EVs.
Why EVs? Why not use these features in a car with a standard combustion engine? The "environmental concerns" lens is one way to look at it, but I'll present a truth about EVs that has impelled manufacturers to transition. Simplicity. An EV is simple to design — it has lesser parts. So, there are fewer points of failure, and it can be easily controlled through "software". EVs have made it possible to perform functions by hydraulic actions; which are done by using processors manufactured by Intel, ARM, etc. with assembly code running on them.
In the even simpler terms — an EV is the standard remote-controlled car you played with in your childhood; enlarged to fit in people.
What is Inspired Karters Electric?
Inspired Karters is a Formula Student team formed in 2011. It comprises students passionate about gasoline-based racing, engineering, and selling our idea to the judges. The team has participated in international events held in Hungary and Italy. By assembling the car from on the 1st day of the event, our name got cemented in the hearts of the people involved with Formula Bharat. The journey after that has had many ups and downs in terms of the competitions in which we have participated. Being on the back foot due to the location of our campus, the team tried its best and brought in many innovative ideas for the vehicle. The manufacturing was done in the place that most 1st years dread — the BITS Workshop. How did all this lead to the team changing gears and looking to design BITS Pilani's first electric vehicle – "The Phoenix One" (we rose from the ashes of the gasoline to a powerful, torquey electric engine). The answer is "responsibility".
Even though we are still passionate about gasoline engines, the V12s, the V8s, the turbochargers, and the sound of the engines still fascinates us. We realise the importance of building a responsible and concerned engineer; an engineer that knows the impact that they have on the environment, an engineer that can adapt to new technology within two months and design a vehicle from scratch. The goal of Inspired Karters Electric (changed the name to reflect our ideology) is to build engineers who are industry-ready, innovative, and have the capability of getting the maximum out of a product even though they are bound by several rules, the location, and the resources available.
The passion that we have and the effort that we put in was recognised and appreciated. It led to us securing the 1st position at the FSEV Concept Challenge 2020, finally, after being the runner up in the years 2018 and 2019.