Solar-powered vehicle: a product of the Incubation Programme

The Incubation Programme has yielded some interesting projects, including a Solar Car borne out of the annual Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2013, where students from various colleges and universities design and build energy-efficient vehicles. This year’s team participated in the prototype category in electric batteries and built the solar vehicle over a period of approximately six months. They found that having first-hand experience with the manufacturing process to be extremely gratifying and that their decision-making and problem-solving skills were improved as well. Working together in a close-knit group also helped them develop a sense of camaraderie and taught them how to work effectively as a team. Although the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2013 was ultimately cancelled due to bad weather conditions, the experience and skills they gained made it all worthwhile.

Also taking part in the Incubation programme is Syazwani Haji Yusof, a 3rd year student majoring in Business Administration. The Business Incubation programme is considered full-time training that improves students’ business ideas in terms of their feasibility, scalability and sustainability. Syazwani relates that this Incubation programme involves exercises which lead students through practical steps that would take them closer to making their business ideas a reality. Throughout the programme, students are exposed to both local and international entrepreneurs; in fact, Syazwani states that the most exciting part of the incubation programme is that successful and well-known personalities are invited to share their experiences with the students, such as Indian millionaire, Rahul Mirchandani, and Harvard Business School trainer, John Woo. She feels that the programme is invaluable for any student entrepreneur and that it would aid FUTURE graduates of the programme not only in obtaining employment, but also eventually in actually providing employment for others.

The annual Shell Eco-marathon has evolved into becoming a global event with the first debut in Asia having been hosted in Kuala Lumpur four years ago. The competition invites high school and college students from around the world to apply their knowledge of science and engineering to create ultra-energy-efficient cars, challenging them to designing, building and driving a car to travel the furthest on the least amount of energy. This Eco-marathon helps to inspire engineers and scientists of the FUTURE to turn their vision of sustainable mobility into reality as well as spark passionate debate about what the future of cars on the road holds.

The competition is divided into two classes: the UrbanConcept class, which focuses on practical design, and the Prototype class, which emphasises maximum efficiency. Cars enter one of seven categories to run on conventional petrol and diesel, biofuels, fuel made from natural gas (GTL), solar, hydrogen or electricity, where, over several days, teams make five attempts to travel the furthest on the equivalent of one litre of fuel; cars are made to drive a fixed number of laps around the circuit. Organisers then calculate their energy efficiency and name a winner in each class as well as for each energy source, with results for the electrically powered vehicles expressed in km per kilowatt hour (km/kWh) and in km per litre (km/l) for the other energy types.

Team GenNext II of UBD, led by Muhammad Rafiuddin Maidin, attended the event in Manila in early February for their second time and constructed a vehicle to compete in the electricity category. The team decided to name their battery-powered vehicle “Mutiara” as a tribute to Brunei Darussalam’s legendary rooster. Meticulous planning and design of the eco-friendly vehicle spanned over six months and, with a budget of $10, 000, GenNext II was able to complete construction of Mutiara in only three months.


All the hard work paid off as GenNext II was one of 14 out of 17 vehicles that passed the rigorous and strict inspection stage. Despite the heavy competition from prestigious institutions throughout Asia, the team made it into the top ten in the electric battery category, where, after a total of three attempts, the team managed to clock their car at 112.2 km/kWh, which is the best achievement of any preceding Bruneian participant.

The team from UBD will be competing in the next eco-marathon in 2015, although the type of vehicle is yet to be decided. Regardless, GenNext II was satisfied with their achievement in Manila and look forward to participating in the next Shell Eco-marathon.

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