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Two Wheel Drive-By: Ashva Electric Motorsports

Sometimes, amidst the helical synapses of our neurons, we venture to sow our innovative ideas from the sub-conscious to the realm of reality. Eventually, we become preoccupied with our proposition, visualize the attainment of our goals in glory and demolish any hindrance or criticism on the way. In the exhilaration of the moment, these ideas seem reliably worthwhile. Our headstrong passion directs our passive imaginations. However, ideas are evasive. More often than not, the struggle of gathering supporters, accumulating resources and time proves to be overwhelming for most of us. The idea fades and our passion dies.

This is the story of a group of students proved to be the exceptions, when, in the placid domain of MIT, they caught lightning in a bottle as they embraced their revolutionary idea, nourished it and left no stone unturned to get it recognized for its worth.

In the Vedas, a mythical horse like creature, Ashva is mentioned a number of times. Faster than gazelles, Ashvas were predominantly strong in their sprint and aesthetically appealing in their majestic manes. MIT’s newest student project, Ashva, plans to proceed along similar lines. Aiming to build an electric motorbike, they propose to never settle for any speed lower than that of the Vedic Ashva.

Ashva working on their research

Infallible in their tenacity, Ashva barely seem like they just started. The peripheral of this project suggests the existence of a sole objective of racing but beneath this exterior, there lies a purposeful resolution. Ashva is steadfast in their belief of becoming responsible and ethically conscious engineers. In the words of the Founder and Team Leader, Hiren Bhanderi, “Ashva is important not only as a student project but also as an initiative to protect the environment, transpose combustion with electricity, quit using non-renewable sources of energy and move to a more eco-friendly approach.” The project has an underlying proposition to benefit mankind. With Ashva, not only is practical knowledge gained in copious amounts, but inherent and widespread mind-sets are changed with innovation being prioritized and habitual degradation condemned.

The chief objective of the team at the moment is MotoE. Encompassing the thrill of race circuits, the excitement of the participating teams and the nervous foreboding of how the vehicle will perform on the big day, MotoE seems to be a driving motivation for the members of Ashva. This competition will comprise of teams from all around the globe, brimming with innovation and ideas. The participating teams including technical institutions, manufacturers and privateer constructors are substantially promoting clean technology that would power the next generation of motorsport.

Practical application of knowledge

The team in Ashva has an unambiguous plan of action. Currently in the research phase, they have divided the operation into slots including designing, modelling and manufacturing. Other than the superbike that Ashva plans to build, they are also disparate in another step that they’ve chosen to encounter – that of self-balancing. A self-balancing motorbike would ensure that the rider and machine are in sync with each other. This would not foster any depletion of the driver’s freedom but would only reduce risk and increase safety. The team is currently researching on self-balancing technologies. In way of example, the technology could include keeping the vehicle in an upright position, automatically leaning into turns or reducing the detriments of collisions.

Despite Ashva being in the bud, Bhanderi is confident about bagging some prizes. He believes that Ashva will favorably win the ‘Innovation Award’ for its take on self-balancing technologies. Other than that, he believes that they will also win the ‘Best In Class’ award. The student project is not unaided in its efforts. Higher officials of MotoE and numerous companies in India are guiding them, every step of the way.

Even though Ashva seems full-fledged at the moment, the journey towards this placidity was not an easy one. After the idea planted itself in the young innovators’ minds, there was still the arduous task of gathering a team with members who were not only disciplined but also passionate about the cause. Despite the difficulties they faced, Ashva was never disregarded and their passion drove them on. Much needed relief befell the team when they got approved by the University and received the support that they deserved. As Bhanderi says, getting approved was the ‘wow moment’ for them and they hope to be able to encounter an abundance of such moments in the future.

Walking into Ashva’s Workshop is like walking into a friendly conference. While the banter about motorbikes, aerodynamics, speed or self-balancing would seem like balderdash to a layman, technically inclined innovators would find a haven in them. The team members were strenuously working, discussing and putting forth all their energy.  Ashva seems like its right in the corner, ready to pounce on all the opportunities that its being presented with.

The Ashva Workshop

The recruitment procedure of Ashva has already commenced. Bhanderi’s message to the eager innovators out there is, “It’s all about dedication. Being pro-efficient in everything is not a pre-requisite.  You just have to be there, be passionate and dedicated. We will train and guide you. In the process, we learn a lot too. It’s a mutually beneficial process.” Indeed, the team members seem extremely close-knitted and symbiotic in their operational principle.

The team keeps itself motivated as it puts hours and hours into research related to the mechanical and electrical subsystems. They visualize the moment of victory, feel the ensuing satisfaction and pass each day with exhilaration as they get closer to their goals. This group of innovators teaches us an important lesson about ethical consciousness. They are truly fulfilling their responsibilities as engineers by going eco-friendly, even when they ostensibly dip into motor racing. Ideas can be lost, thrown, forgotten or disregarded but when they are appreciated for their worth and invested into, they could become as legendary as the Ashva.

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