Aerovelo posted a nice update on their website about their latest speedbike project Eta, so it was time to drop by the shop to see how things were going. Here the team is going through a status update. Things are still on track for getting a bike rolling by the middle or end of July.
Here are the male forms for the shell. On the left hand one, you can see a cutline, which is where the fairing will separate to load the driver. First step will be to layup on these forms to make a female mold.
The team has been concerned about fundraising to keep this project going. Their kickstarter webpage states that their overall fundraising goal is about 120K, although at this point it is not looking good for them to raise even the 30K minimum amount. Others have asked what the distinction is between Aerovelo and the Human Powered Vehicle Design Team (HPVDT). The distinction is as follows: Todd and Cam founded the HPVDT while Todd was still a student at U of T, but while both of them were already working on the Human Powered Orthnitopter project. The primary focus of the HPVDT has always been to produce a bike to complete in the annual ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. The HPVDT’s budget runs to about 15K a year, most of which is spent on the bike, and a small amount partially subsidizes student travel to the competition. The HPVDT has run a succession of bikes, including ACE, Vortex, Bluenose, Celero, and Valkyrie.
Aerovelo was started by Todd and Cam as a way to tackle more ambitious projects, such as the Human Powered Helicopter Atlas that won the Sikorsky prize last year.
Aerovelo’s overall objectives are twofold: to tackle high profile projects that push the limits of human power (and as such provide examples of ultra energy efficient forms of transportation), and to provide students with a high quality engineering experience. Most of their work takes place in the summer, and their model is to recruit a student team each year, and to provide them with paid employment during the summer. Naturally, a fair number of HPVDT members apply to participate in Aerovelo projects, but this summer’s Aerovelo team is more than half entirely new people. Todd and Cam did a fair amount of fundraising to get the helicopter built, and although they won the $250K prize, most of that money had already been spent by the time the helicopter flew. They are being similarly ambitious with their speedbike project this summer, but without the prospect of a pot of gold at the end. The 120K budget reflects the fact that the students are paid (HPVDT activity is unpaid), and the fact that the Eta project is quite a bit more sophisticated than HPVDT’s prior bikes. Eta is the first bike that is being designed from the beginning for ultimate speed. Given that Aerovelo/HPVDT managed to get Bluenose, a modified ASME bike, up to 78 mph last year at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge speaks to the potential for success this year.
The competition has been fierce the past three years, since the Human Power Team Delft/Amsterdam (HPT) started showing up. They are well funded, and have brought a new level of sophistication to this event. They have won the WHPSC three years in a row. Their first year, 2011, they beat Sam Whittingham from BC who had won this event for more than ten years running, and was the world record holder at 133.3 kph, set in 2009. Last year, HPT reset the record to 133.8 kph. This is the record that Aerovelo is trying to recapture and to bring back to Canada. You can follow the Dutch team’s progress at their website, and you will note that their bike is already complete, and they are concentrating on testing and training of their riders. Aerovelo finds itself in the position of the underdog once again. It is going to be an interesting summer leading up to the WHPSC 2014.