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Friday, September 22, 2023

KMITL launches “UNICON”, an EV model made by Thai engineers

The Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), has designed and launched the first UNICON electric bus. It is a prototype in innovation to reduce air pollution and has the advantage of energy-saving. It was built to connect travel within KMITL with clean energy.

This is consistent with the KMITL for SDGs policy, which states that KMITL is designed to be an educational institution that develops sustainable social and community development ideas. It also improves students’ ability to practice and gain experience while studying. It also helps transform research projects into practical innovations, as well as prepares a skilled workforce and knowledge to support the growth of the electric vehicle sector, which will become the primary mode of transportation in the future.

“According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, KMITL is committed to being an educational institution that participates in sustainable social and community development,” said Prof. Dr. Surin Khomfoi, acting vice president for planning and a lecturer at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) (SDGs). “As a result, the KMITL for SDGs policy has been implemented by increasing the proportion of clean energy in various activities, such as the Innovated in KMITL project, which encourages researchers to combine knowledge from various fields to create new innovations for real-world applications within the institution.”

“Researchers and students from the Faculty of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering have created a research project for the UNICON prototype EV, a 100 percent electric-powered bus for usage within the institute. This attempts to reduce pollution from oil-burning internal combustion engines, which are the source of PM2.5 and have a negative impact on people’s respiratory systems and health. It also saves more money on energy than a gasoline engine, which is subject to price fluctuations. It is also a futuristic automobile.”

The trams in San Francisco, USA, served as inspiration for the design. San Francisco is a city that mixes technology and lifestyle. The new EV will become a symbol of KMITL when it is employed in the institute, a new era that is determined to use technology to fulfill lifestyles as well.

UNICON is created from the terms university and connection, which, in addition to alluding to the buses that connect to travel within the institute’s area, also refers to the institution’s teaching, research, and innovation.

“Moreover, from design to assembly to maintenance, the revolutionary UNICON EV was developed by a team of all Thai engineers. It is the result of collaboration between researchers, alumni, and students, as well as the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering at KMITL, to develop a body of knowledge that supports the expansion of the electric vehicle industry, which is on the verge of becoming mainstream vehicles in the future,” said Prof. Dr. Surin.

According to Asst. Prof. Dr. Teeraphon Phophongviwat, a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering at KMITL’s Faculty of Engineering, findings from research in electric vehicles (EV) have been brought to give design guidance supervise the manufacturing process and conduct quality control before being put into use.

“The UNICON’s first-generation electric bus offers strengths in terms of energy efficiency and CO emission reduction,” he stated. It has a 20kW PMSM motor and a 96 V Li-ion battery with a 400 Ah capacity (ampere-hours). It can travel up to 100 kilometers at a maximum speed of 30 kilometers per hour after a single charge. It has a capacity of 20 passengers. While this model of electric vehicle has no carbon impact, gasoline vehicles pollute the air every time they are driven.”

“From the point of view of entrepreneurs in the automotive industry, we foresee that there will be more than one hundred thousand EVs in use within five years due to the government’s promotion of the use of EVs,” said Mr. Ekachai Puchanikul, managing director of Preechathaworn Industry Co., Ltd., who is also alumni of Master of Engineering Program at KMITL, and heir of the famous automobile assembly business in Samut Sakhon Province.

“As a result, the UNICON prototype research project is an excellent way for students to get the skills needed to collaborate on the development of novel electric vehicles. These abilities will be passed down from generation to generation, assisting future Thai engineers in becoming prepared to work in the emerging electric car industry in Thailand and around the world.”

For additional information, contact the Faculty of Engineering at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) at 02-329-8321 or visit the Institute’s Facebook page at https://th-th.facebook.com/kmitl001/ or find out what’s going on at www.facebook.com/kmitlofficial.

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