UKZN’s Mamba Electric Car on Display at Open DayHumanities

The striking Mamba Electric Vehicle in UKZN’s Mechanical Engineering workshop.The striking Mamba Electric Vehicle in UKZN’s Mechanical Engineering workshop.

A UKZN-designed Mamba electric car will be on display among other final-year Mechanical Engineering student projects at the UNITE School of Engineering Building on the Howard College campus this Friday.

The eye-catching Mamba Electric Vehicle is the collaborative work of four top-performing final year students and two postgraduates, working under EMERG (the UKZN Energy and Materials Engineering Research Group), along with two Durban companies (TR Tec - 100% financial sponsor, and Stealth). Supervision of the project was by Dr Clinton Bemont and Dr Michael Brooks.

Ms Simone Chetty, Mr Sean Mons, Mr Brendan Sims and Mr David Woods were ecstatic when they became part of the team to design and build the car, along with postgraduates Mr Nicholas Witteveen and Mr Matthew Woods.

The Mamba Electric Vehicle is a sports car that is designed to have good aerodynamics and range, good handling, be extremely light (at about 650kg) and to do 0-100 km/h in five seconds in its final form. 

Sim’s designed and produced a 3D model of the car, produced the flat panels and worked on the aerodynamics, while Mons was tasked with bringing the 3D design to life and building a carbon fibre monoque, weighing in at around 600kg.

Woods was responsible for the design and construction of the moulds needed to produce the carbon fibre panels of the vehicle and also handled the suspension and braking system.

Chetty’s task was to design high strength but very light weight electric motor mounting, drive shafts and CV joints for the car. She was also in charge of the overall assembly sequence, as well as the seats and the all-important seat belts. 

Everything had to be based on SABS standards.

‘Properly designing an electric car involves a huge number of different design specialisations that all need to come together perfectly. It takes teamwork and passion to achieve the result that our team has in just one year,’ said Dr Bemont. ‘It is an accelerated learning experience for the students’.

Though the process challenged the students as individuals and as a group, they all agreed that seeing their hard work come to life was ‘the best feeling ever’!

‘Our aim was to build a cost effective sports car and show the public that we could construct a high-performing electric vehicle on a relatively small budget,’ said Bemont. 

Basetsana Mogashoa