In a spectacular win against international competitors, Deakin University's answer to the Ford Global Challenge to design a Model-T for the 21st Century has been chosen as one of two designs showcased by Ford in Detroit. The vehicle, designed by a team led by Deakin engineering students, is labelled 'T2' (T-Squared).
T2 was described by Ford as 'pushing the boundaries and delivering an alternative transportation concept for tomorrow.' The win earned Deakin's School of Engineering and Information Technology $30,000 (US$25,000) in scholarship funds from Ford.
Deakin University was the only Australian university and one of only six worldwide invited to participate in the Challenge, part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the fabled Model T, the car that changed the 20th Century. The new Model T design aims to be universally affordable and could, if produced, retail for under A$9,000. Ford has registered several patents around the concept vehicles.
Dr Bernard Rolfe, the Deakin Project Leader, said that T2's use of the latest research and technology has re-defined the idea of an inexpensive, innovative and sustainable car. 'Our design, developed by a cross-disciplinary team effort from across the University, has "plenty of bang for the buck". As well, T2 is a very green machine,' Dr Rolfe said. Ford called the design 'simple, lightweight, practical, compelling and low cost.'
Deakin University's T2 runs on compressed air (with some compressed natural gas support for longer distance travel). It incorporates safety proven lightweight materials in which Deakin is an acknowledged world leader. With three wheels, it can turn 360° on itself, making inner city parking easy. The simplicity of the design means that it can be assembled at accredited Ford dealers, which was the original business model used by Ford Australia back in the early 1920s when the Model T was first launched in Australia.