By Zheng Juncen
The petite second-year student not only took part in improving earlier car designs, she also drove the electric car her team had built, the Nanyang Venture 9 (NV-IX), in a competitive race.
When Emily Fatima Yunan, 21, first caught sight of Nanyang Venture, Singapore’s first 3D printed electric-powered car at the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE), she immediately realized it was a project she wanted to join.
She was just a first-year MAE student then, but Emily did not hesitate to approach Associate Professor Ng Heong Wah to ask if she can join his research team.
The journey was anything but easy.
It took her a year to master the sophisticated mechanisms of an electric-powered car by observing her seniors design and build innovative cars.
But in March, the petite second-year student not only took part in improving earlier car designs, she also drove the electric car her team had built, the Nanyang Venture 9 (NV-IX), in a competitive race.
Her team ranked eighth out of 16 teams at the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia, an annual race involving energy-efficient and innovative cars from tertiary institutions across Asia.
It was held at the Changi Exhibition Centre on 15-19 Mar.
Emily is only the second female driver to represent NTU since the University started joining the competition in 2016.
“I’ve never felt disadvantaged as a girl,” said Emily, who was one of only two females in the team of 16 NTU students. “Sometimes, I won’t be able to carry as heavy a load like (the males, but) other than that it’s okay.”
For instance, having a small frame — she weighs 41kg and is 147cm tall — enabled her to manoeuvre inside the car’s small compartment easily.
Most of the nitty-gritty work that goes into building the Nanyang Venture happens in an obscure workshop nestled within the North Spine.
That is where the team brainstorms ideas to enhance the innovativeness and performance of the car.
Test runs are then scheduled occasionally for Emily to practise behind the wheel.
NTU placed third in last year’s race. While the team did not manage to repeat the feat this year, Emily hopes that next year’s team will raise the bar.
“There will always be uncertainties during the competition,” she said. “But fret not, fight on, up is the only way forward.”