A group of 15 girl students from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women are all set to compete in the upcoming Shell Eco Marathon in Singapore, scheduled to take place later this month.
Team Panthera, as they call themselves, is the only all-girls team in Asia to participate.
The girls, all between 18 and 21 years of age, will take part in the competition that challenges young engineers from across the world to design, build and drive energy-efficient vehicles.
Their electronic fuel injection prototype has been made using light, mileage-friendly materials. The girls say that since a major cause of pollution is vehicles, they decided to make a car that would give good mileage.
They also took the call to use petrol instead of going electric as India is still dependent on the fuel, but made sure to up the mileage to reduce carbon footprint.
Christened Iris 2.0, the single-seater, three-wheeled prototype car weighs about 50 kg. It has been fitted with a 35cc engine and touches 55 kmph. It is expected to run 300 km on a litre of petrol.
But the girls, while excited to compete, faced a lot of challenges while working on the model — from unhelpful shopkeepers to dismissive sponsors, who rejected them because they were girls.
“I had one experience where a shopkeeper said to me that I wouldn’t be able to explain what we needed and that I should instead send the boys from our college,” Aanchal Saxena, a member, told The Hindu.
While they were lucky to finally get sponsorship from the Modern Industries and Oriental Bank of Commerce, the team had to bear most of the Rs 17 lakh cost.