Unveiling ‘the Geec' (Galway energy-efficient car) at NUI Galway were, (back from left) Dr Maeve Duffy, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, NUI Galway; Kevin Dunne from Ballinfoyle Park, Galway City; Cian Conlan-Smith from Cahir, County Tipperary; John O'Connell from Tuam, County Galway; Paul Man

Ballymore student working on eco car

A Ballymore student is on the team at NUI Galway who are designing and building ‘the Geec’ (Galway energy-efficient car), which they say will be able to drive from Galway to Dublin on less than €1 worth of electricity.

Keith Ward was involved in the design and fabrication of the steering, chassis and drive-train of the car and says the team are hoping to conduct the first trials in race conditions before Christmas.

In May 2015, the team will compete with 200 others at Shell Eco-marathon Europe as the first team ever to represent Ireland in the event.

At Shell Eco-marathon a future generation of engineers and scientists aged 16-25 from around 25 countries compete in cars they design and build. Success is measured on who can drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1kWh of electricity or one litre of fuel.

The NUI Galway Geec will race in the prototype electric category. The car combines electric drive with a streamlined composite body and ultra-low resistance tyres.

The team consists of students across the mechanical, electrical and electronic and energy systems engineering disciplines with backing from the University’s College of Engineering and Informatics. The team are currently testing and tuning the car and are seeking to build relationships with partners and sponsors who can help to develop the project for the 2015 Eco-marathon and beyond.

Last week, Keith outlined the work since the Examiner spoke to him in the summer: “The steering system has been designed, the braking system has been fitted and the bodyshell built – made from a mould and fitted,” said Keith. “We also chose our driver, Mary McLoone from Glenties, County Donegal, and she’s now receiving her training. The car is being custom-built to her dimensions – height, weight, size.”

The team are well on their way to having their car on track for practice runs, and Keith thanked NUIG and Shell for their support.

Professor Gerry Lyons, dean of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, recently unveiled the car alongside Shell representatives, students and alumni. “There has never been an Irish team to compete in the event and this will change in 2015 with NUI Galway’s contribution to the world of eco-friendly transport,” he said. “This is a great team of students taking on the design, building and racing Ireland’s most fuel efficient car and I really do commend them and wish them well.”