University of Malta (UM) Racing President Shaun Abela has remarked that one of the primary challenges the team faced in creating Malta’s first electric race car was to balance it with their studies.

Last Friday at Esplora Interactive Science Centre, UM Racing officially revealed the EV24, the first-ever locally manufactured electric racing car, built entirely by a group of 30 students from the team. The design process first started in July 2022, while manufacturing commenced a year later, with the car set to compete at the IMechE Formula Student competition in Silverstone, UK this July. The team has already competed internationally seven times with four different race cars, yet this is the first time that it will be entering an electric vehicle (EV) rather than ones powered by internal combustion engines.

The project is a notable achievement that is made more impressive when considering that the students faced challenges related to sponsorships and balancing their time at the garage with their own studies.

Speaking to, Mr Abela, who has been part of UM Racing for almost five years, remarked that finding sponsors to collaborate with the team and make the project happen was a “massive challenge.”

Shaun Abela

UM Racing President Shaun Abela / LinkedIn

Finding the free time to work on the EV24 to get it ready in time for the launch and to compete is “probably the second biggest challenge” the team faces.

“To finish this race car, a lot of labour hours are a must. When we started the design of the car, after a day of lectures, the engineers used to spend till 11pm or more in our office designing all of the car. Whilst within the business team, we worked hard to secure the necessary funding required for the project,” Mr Abela said.

He said that over the past year, the team – which is made up of students from different faculties within the university – spent long nights in UM’s garage to ensure the car can be finished in time.

“It is a balancing act between managing our university course and the race car. Sometimes, you have an hour and you need to decide whether it is best to study or finish a task related to the team. It is stressful at times, but this makes it even more rewarding,” Mr Abela continued.


UM Racing President Shaun Abela (left) and Vice President for Engineering Nicholas Galea / Facebook

He pointed out that UM Racing is entirely a “project of passion,” with all of the members taking part on a voluntary basis. In fact, he said that the race car was finished just a few hours before the launch as some of the parts the team had ordered arrived late.

“We are now still working hard on the car, whilst focusing on our exams, to ensure that the performance of the EV24 is maximised as we head towards Silverstone,” Mr Abela stated.

The difficulty of having to strike a balance between the car and coursework will ultimately pay off, he said, expressing his excitement at having the opportunity to drive the EV24.

As previously mentioned, the car will be different from other models that the racing team has built over the years. EV24 has a total mass of 235 kilograms and a maximum power output of 80 kilowatts, with it anticipated to go from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in just four seconds, a significant improvement from the 4.5 seconds of the FC20, the car UM Racing most recently competed with. It is powered by an Emrax 208 motor, and also contains a suspension system that is engineered for precision and agility.

Mr Abela told that the experience of driving the EV24 is slightly different from a regular race car, with it not having any gears to change, allowing the driver to simply focus on the accelerator and brake pedals. “Since it is electric, the power will be delivered instantly with massive amounts of torque, so you can definitely feel the acceleration in this car,” he added.


The launch of the EV24 / Facebook

Despite these qualities, he still said that UM Racing goes into the competition as underdogs, being a smaller team with less financial power than other competitors. However, Mr Abela also pointed towards examples of other Maltese drivers and teams who have made names for themselves on the international motorsports stage, including 2017 FIA European Top Fuel Dragster champion Duncan Micallef and Team Maximum Lock, which has become one of the most well-known drifting teams in the world.

“Therefore, it is exciting to be competing against universities from the likes of Oxford, Liverpool, and Madrid, among others,” Mr Abela said.

In 2022, UM Racing finished third out of around 110 other teams.

During the competition, the team noticed that a number of EV race cars were not allowed to compete due to safety concerns. Therefore, the main aim for the team this year was to pass scrutiny and be allowed to take the EV24 out on the track. Once this is done, Mr Abela said that the team will be in a good position to fight for at least a top 25 finish in the competition.

“Of course, we are competitors, and we are working hard to maximise performance from what we have as we would love to win. However, it is important to be realistic and take a step-by-step approach with this new electric era for the team,” he emphasised.

Main Image:

UM Racing's EV24 / Facebook

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Written By

Fabrizio Tabone

Fabrizio has a passion for the economy and technology, especially when it comes to innovation. Aside from this, he also has a passion for football and movies, and so you will often find him either with a ball to his feet or at the cinema checking out the latest releases.