Human Factor

A mammoth project

How team Brandenburgische Technische Universität hopes to turn learnings from the Shell Eco-marathon into insights for their hometown Cottbus.

Having won the race in 2012, team Brandenburgische Technische Universität hopes to make a lasting impression before their technical lead leaves the University for a professional career, possibly in hydrogen.

The Brandenburgische Technische Universität Team

The team has been competing in the marathon since 2008, starting out in the solar category. Over the years they have got through to various stages in the prototype category, including winning in 2012.  Now they have moved into the urban concept category using hydrogen to fuel the car. 

 

Facts and figures

Team name: Lausitz Dynamics

Car name: Mammut

University: Brandenburgische Technische Universität

Country: Germany

First Shell Eco-marathon: 2008

 

Quick-fire round

Mammut for the name of the car – where did that come from?

Mammut is German for mammoth – the woolly mammoth, so a huge creature and that is exactly what this project is. We thought it was a good representation of what we must do.
 

How many people are in your team?

Six in the technical team who work on the car and two who are responsible for marketing, promotion and helping out where needed. That includes working on the car in the days leading up to the race, which is a little daunting as you don’t want to do anything wrong. We also have our technical lead, our supervisor from the university, who is a great source of knowledge and information. Unfortunately, it is his last year with the team as he has finished his studies.
 

What are your hopes for this year?

We have had problems, but we think they are solved and we are now through technical inspection, so that is one huge milestone completed. We now just want it to work on the track, drive and have one successful race. As this is our technical lead’s final year, we want to have something for him to remember and be remembered by – a legacy with a car for the next generation of students.

We also have some long-term goals that we hope the team will achieve in the next two to 10 years.  Our town is quite busy with tourists and we would like to be able to build a car that is sustainable, that can be used in the city to help support tourism and give something back to the city.
 

You have some impressive goals. To achieve them, you are now in the urban concept category which is a big change from last year.  What have you done to get to where you are now?

To begin with we didn’t have anyone on the team who knew about hydrogen fuel cells, so our technical lead literally taught himself. He is now really passionate about the technology. It has been a big jump for us, but our motto is “you can always improve” and this is just one area we are improving in.
 

What makes a great driver?

I was the driver last year and I was a bit too careful and too heavy on the brakes, which doesn’t help with efficiency. You must always be vigilant of others and make sure you follow the rules.
 

What advice would you give to others thinking of taking part in SEM?

This is a great project to be involved with but it can be all consuming. We have to be careful and ensure that our studies remain manageable as well as the project. It teaches you a lot about team work, having discipline, whilst having fun.
 

Have you had any support from Linde prior to the race?

We had a leaking fuel cell and the technical team could help us look at the possible reasons and give us advice.
 

Can you describe the Shell Eco-marathon in three words?

Stressful, yet fun and educational.