UTHM researchers create battery-powered vehicle

By Kamarul Halim M Kamal

BATU PAHAT, Oct 15 -- Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) has once again proven that Malaysia is not short of local talents that are on par with their international counterparts after a group of its researchers created its first fully electric battery-powered vehicle called ECO.

ECO Project Head Prof Madya Dr Samsul Haimi Dahlan said it took them 14 months to complete the vehicle construction, two months ahead of its deadline.

Samsul Haimi, who is currently attached with UTHM Research Centre For Applied Electromagnetics (ENCenter) said, research on the vehicle project was conducted by the Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

"One of the main purposes of producing the electric vehicle is to respond to the call of creating future vehicles that are more environmentally friendly, noise-free and smoke-free, more importantly, vehicles that are able to avoid electromagnetic interference," he told Bernama recently.

Samsul Haimi said one of the advantages of ECO is its cheap operating cost, where for every 100 kilometre per hour, it only costs RM4 compared to a petrol-fuelled vehicle that needs RM30 to cover the same distance.

He said the team comprises Dr Xavier Ngu who had been involved as a consultant for electric car construction abroad as well as Dr Mohd Razali Tomari; Mohd Rostam Anuar and Miskiah Muhammad Ihsan who brought their unique roles, expertise and responsibilities into the project.

“We are also grateful to UTHM for granting us an internal grant of RM55,000 to produce this electric vehicle that can carry loads (goods) up to 200 kilogrammes at a time,” he said, adding that ECO could be used as a light transport vehicle, such as food trucks for food vendors.

“It is suitable (for that purpose) because of its relatively small size as well as cheaper maintenance cost," he said.

According to Samsul Haimi, the vehicle is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery with a lifespan of up to 10 years and it can be charged like any other battery.

He said ECO utilises artificial intelligence by voice commands to make turns and activate the windscreen  wipers.

“I believe the use of electric cars will be expanded in the future...If we look at the automotive-related industries of the world, most of the industry players, especially in Europe, have started producing hybrid cars,” he said.

Samsul Hairi said several companies have shown their interest in ECO for their internal use to carry goods. 


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