Girton Grammar School’s solar-powered ‘Xception’ – the first ever pedal-free 24 hour Trial winner

Girton Grammar School’s solar-powered ‘Xception’ – the first ever pedal-free 24 hour Trial winner

Girton Grammar School’s ‘Xception’ is the first team to take Line Honours at the RACV Energy Breakthrough in a vehicle WITHOUT pedals. All of the team’s power was completely generated by solar panels the school set-up behind their pits, too which is truly representative of an ‘energy breakthrough’.

Their electric single-source-vehicle is the culmination of lessons learnt at previous Trial attempts and their missions to the Shell Eco Marathon. This is also now the third year in a row that motor power has overcome pedal power on the RACV Track, which is every year since the two groups have been re-joined together.

The Girton team of Samuel Martin, Connor McCaig, Harrison Morley, Benjamin Pignataro, Robert Wood and Montague Velthuis have continued their past stellar form in the EEV category and did it all with little fuss and very few dramas with the track marshals, too.

Above: Girton Grammar School’s Xception, in front of it’s solar array.

We caught up with Team Manager, Robin Kirby, to hear how he and this dedicated group of students pulled off this feat:

RACVEB: Congratulations to your team, what a stellar effort! What’s under the hood of Xception?

Robin: The propulsion system is basically a 2-speed 600w motor set up, with Gilmer belt drive to the rear wheel. Energy for the system is supplied by four lithium polymer batteries in each battery pack of which we have five.

RACVEB: How did you out run the entire field in ever-changing weather conditions?

Robin: Our smooth run can be attributed to a careful balancing of the drive ratios, limiting the maximum speed and driving to the conditions. We learnt through many lessons both from previous EEV Trials – as well as our Shell Eco Marathon competitions – that the drive ratios are crucial; develop and have the team embrace a clear Trial strategy; set achievable goals with a stretch; and most importantly, always have a plan B!

RACVEB: Did you have any dramas during the Trial?

Robin: No really serious issues other than a few flat tyres, considerable tyre wear and the main power feed becoming intermittent then disconnecting at one stage.

RACVEB : Your method of charging your batteries through solar power is awesome and really epitomises the spirit of the Energy Breakthrough. Can you tell us how it worked?

Robin: The solar set up was put together in the three days prior to the event and comprises 3 kW of solar panels, 24v DC inverter to 240v AC, and 12 Kilowatt hours of battery storage. The amount of storage proved to be a lot more than required, but we needed to be prepared for rain all day on both days and no solar input during the night.

RACVEB : How much energy did the vehicle use during the Trial?

Robin: The vehicle used approximately 12 Kilowatt hours for the entire trial.

The short – yet remarkable – history of Girton Grammar School’s EEVs at RACV EB

2011 : School’s Debut. 13th in HPV B1 category.

  • Completes just 285 laps (381.9km), but scores well in Display (20.9) and Design (21.6) for a total score of 68.43.
  • Wins Greenspeed ‘Against the Odds’ Award.

2012: Starts Energy Efficient Vehicles alongside HPV program.
Class: EEV Petrol Only

  • Trial: Winner
  • Overall Class: Winner

2013: Class: EEV Petrol Only

Trial: Winner
Overall Class: Winner

2014: Class: Single Power Source

Design & Construction: Winner
Trial: Winner
Overall Class: Winner

2015: Class: Hybrid 2

Design & Construction: Winner
Trial: Winner
Overall Class: Winner

2016: Class: Hybrid 2

Design & Construction: Winner
Trial: Winner
Overall Class: Winner
By | 2017-11-28T19:47:38+00:00 November 28th, 2017|Generally Newsworthy|1 Comment

About the Author:

Nigel Preston is a self-confessed ‘HPV Tragic’. After ‘catching the bug’ from his older brother, he helped launch the RACV Energy Breakthrough program at Eaglehawk SC with his dad and some mates way back in 1998. Having participated in the RACV EB for four years he finished his VCE in 2001 and volunteering to help with the event management straight away. He’s been helping out ever since. Nigel has also been a part of teams that have taken line honours at the RACV EB in 2000 & 2001 (Bendigo Senior SC); the Australian International Pedal Prix 2003, 2004 & 2009 (Bendigo Youth Racing).

One Comment

  1. Jason Hoffman November 29, 2017 at 2:11 am - Reply

    As the teacher that got the first Girton grammar team to the racv energy breakthrough it has been wonderful to see the success that the team has achieved. Robin Kirby as a parent helper was such a strong driving force with the introduction of the petrol vehicle it is great to see him continuing his involvment in the program

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