Teenager engineer aims to go far with his mean green machine Jet
BUILDING an electric car in his father's garage was enough to win teenage engineer Dave Cullimore a national competition.
But now he's getting help from a university's engineering and design department, he hopes it will become a real world beater.
Dave, 19, won The Greenpower Electric Car Challenge last year with his car Jet, which he drove himself after building it from scratch at home in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, where he lives with his parents, Dave and Rana.
He has also qualified for the national finals next month at Goodwood speedway.
And his hope for next year is that a radically-improved version of Jet will really blow all his competitors away.
Dave, an industrial design student, has been working with the WMG, formerly the Warwick Manufacturing Group, at Warwick University to get their help in using computer-assisted design tools.
He said: "I built Jet on my own in my dad's garage using my own intuition and a bit of basic theory about how to make it as aerodynamic as possible."
Nevertheless, Dave's car won the racing challenge last year and is well-favoured to win again this.
But Dave said: "You can't stand still in racing and all the other teams will be updating their designs for next year and I need to do that too."
The team at WMG have helped their teenage colleague by scanning his car, which allows him to understand the precise size and shape of it in three dimensions.
Dave said: "I want to rebuild it next year in carbon fibre and I need to have the 3D scans for that. It will also allow me to do virtual wind-tunnel testing and other computer tests like that." But for October's finals at Goodwood, it's the old faithful plywood Jet that Dave, who is just completing a six-week placement with Jaguar-Land Rover's research team at WMG, will drive against more than 20 other electric cars.
He said: "We have two sets of ordinary batteries, which works out about one third of a horsepower.
"We have an hour and a half to go as far as possible. Last year I went 60 miles, which is the equivalent of travelling about 3,000 miles per gallon."
Having won four out of seven races this year already, Dave is bullish about his prospects about defeating opposition from the UK and even Poland and the United States at the challenge finals.
He said: "I think I'm definitely one of the favourites."
And, with the hi-tech help he's getting at WMG, Dave is even thinking about a triple victory.
"I hope that, with the help of WMG, I'll be able to develop my design and Jet Mk II will deliver even better performance and help me win next year," he said.