Building a car that’s both fuel-efficient and eco-friendly is always a big challenge. A team would need to defy conventions in design and even in the society. For De La Salle University’s Eco Car Team, however, the challenges are meant to be conquered.
“Bumakaya,” which in La Sallian terms mean “one loud roar,” is the team’s response to their previous car — the Delta — from the 2017 Shell Eco Marathon. The Delta bested seven other teams at the Asian leg of the Driver’s World Championship and earned them a ticket to the world level competition last year, but the DLSU ECT is determined to fill every room of improvement they could find.
“Our latest car, Bumakaya, is a lot lighter than Delta. We’re estimating at about 20-30 kilograms of a difference here,” team manager Mico Flores told MB Life in an interview during the eco car’s University Launch last January 26.
The team’s goal was to make the car as light as possible. This is because lighter cars have impressive and almost unbeatable energy efficiency. For instance, reducing a car’s by as little as one-tenth can boost fuel economy by six to eight percent.
Another feature of the car the team is particularly proud of is its aerodynamics which, in the simplest terms, refer to the air movement’s interaction with a solid object like a car. Bumakaya‘s coefficient of drag or resistance to air is 0.16, “which is not normal for commercial vehicles,” according to mechanical team manager Timothy Ladica.
Despite the name Bumakaya, the team said its engine was made to run quieter “as our other internal combustion engine (ICE) car is kinda loud.”
DLSU ECT was all smiles when their highly-anticipated car and larger-than-life feat, clad in an all-white exterior and a promising interior, was unveiled in time for the university’s Tech Week. Flores, however, admitted that time was their toughest and biggest challenge. “We started making Bumakaya last October, so we only had about three to four months. Then again, we’re students. We have to go to class. We spent some time on overnights and buying parts abroad which also took time,” he shared.
Ladica said a minimum of one year is the ideal time length to create a quality car, but seeing the Bumakaya running at the launch, alongside their other car Imakadiwa, which means “relentless warrior,” the new set of cars did not show signs of being less than ready for innovation and competition.
More than creating an ultra-efficient car, however, the team is keen on encouraging people to pursue sustainable technology. “It’s more than just about building energy-efficient cars. It’s about inspiring people younger than us to pursue what they want to do in life, especially in the line of sustainable technology. This is for the future of the Philippines din, para ‘yung cars natin efficient and transportation is maayos,” Flores added.
Flores, Ladica, and the rest of the team are set to compete at the Shell Eco Marathon Asia on March in Singapore. We can almost hear – by the words of the many La Sallians behind the Eco Car Team – “Animo La Salle!” and we are more than glad to join in.
Photos by Madel Crudo