Stu­dents get Ford down to a

A car that runs on com­pressed air has thrust a group of stu­dents on to the world stage, re­ports NEIL MCDON­ALD.

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THEIR ver­sion of a next-gen­er­a­tion 2015 Model T Ford earned Deakin Uni­ver­sity $30,000 in a global com­pe­ti­tion spon­sored by Ford late last year.

Now Austrade wants to use a pro­to­type of the car to push Vic­to­rian in­no­va­tion and de­sign at the World Expo in Shang­hai this month.

Project leader Dr Bernard Rolfe ad­mits the school has a tight time­frame in which to de­liver.

“But it will be great to show off what we can do,” he said. “It’s an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity.”

Dr Rolfe said he was sur­prised by the mo­men­tum build­ing from the car, called T2, for t-squared. “We’ve had a lot of sup­port,” he said. The burnt or­ange, three-wheeler was part of Ford’s 100th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions to com­mem­o­rate the orig­i­nal Model T. The car was dis­played at the Mel­bourne Mo­tor Show and Dr Rolfe said the next step was to build the pro­to­type for Shang­hai. T2 uses some in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing chal­lenges.

In-wheel motors re­place the con­ven­tional petrol en­gine, the wheels are car­bon fi­bre and the body will be built us­ing a high-strength metal lam­i­nate ma­te­rial de­signed by Can­berra firm Elaco.

The Elaco ma­te­rial is both light­weight and rea­son­ably elas­tic to cope with im­pacts.

T2 had to share the orig­i­nal Model T’s at­tributes of sim­plic­ity but also had to be light, prac­ti­cal, com­pelling and cheap.

Dr Rolfe said the car met those re­quire­ments, with a pro­jected price of $9000.

The three-wheeler runs on com­pressed air and will turn 360 de­grees on it­self, mak­ing in­ner-city park­ing easy.

Dr Rolfe said he’d even­tu­ally like to see a con­sor­tium of tech­nol­ogy part­ners and uni­ver­si­ties in Vic­to­ria to push the know-how of both stu­dents and the car in­dus­try.

New look: Deakin Uni­ver­sity’s Bernard Rolfe and the Model T2 Ford de­signed by stu­dents.

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