The Purdue Electric Vehicle Club recently won the Electric Vehicle Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway using an electric go kart with a top speed of over 50 miles per hour. The go kart was designed and built by the Purdue Electric Vehicle Club with the help of a variety of corporate sponsors, including General Electric, Tesla, Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, and AllCell Technologies. The team from Purdue won both the race as well as the overall event award, based on vehicle design, efficiency, and race placement.
One of the Electric Vehicle Club’s (EVC) objectives is to change the public perception of electric vehicles’ expanding capabilities. The EVC works with an impressive array of corporate partners to secure donated or low cost materials, but the students themselves are responsible for the design, retrofitting, and assembly of each electric vehicle they build. For EVC President Tony Coiro, the event was a great opportunity to demonstrate the exciting progress in the electric vehicle space, “I think the biggest take away from this is electric vehicles are catching up faster with gas than anyone expected.”
The go kart’s battery—the key to the vehicle’s outstanding performance—was constructed using 1200 lithium-ion cells donated by high-end electric car manufacturer Tesla and protected by AllCell Technologies’ cutting-edge thermal management system. Chicago-based AllCell uses a proprietary composite phase change material (PCM) to passively absorb and evenly distribute the heat generated by lithium-ion cells when they discharge. Because the amount of heat generated by lithium-ion cells goes up exponentially as power output increases, a low cost, simple, yet effective thermal management solution is required to safely operate a go kart with such rapid acceleration. AllCell’s PCM is the only cost-effective approach for this type of application.
The work with the Purdue EVC is part of AllCell’s ongoing efforts to partner with local colleges and universities and support talented student groups working on electric vehicle or renewable energy projects. AllCell CEO Said Al-Hallaj has been consistently impressed with the students from Purdue. “We work with a variety of student teams from the best universities in the Midwest, and none of them are more dedicated, creative, or successful than the team from Purdue. These are the exactly the types of future leaders that the electric vehicle industry will need over the next few decades of rapid innovation and growth.”