SolarMobil, a team of 27 students from Manipal University, has built a futuristic automobile, which runs solely on solar power. The car, named SERVe – Solar Electric Road Vehicle, was unveiled at Tata Power Solar Headquarters on Wednesday.
The car’s custom-fit solar panels have been designed and manufactured by Tata Power Solar. The team began working on the project in 2012 with Manipal University as their workspace. “Cars are our passion and we wanted to make a model that is conducive to a green and sustainable environment. Everything is done by us right from cutting to welding,” said Jeet Bannerjee, Team Manager, SolarMobil.
Weighing 590 kg, the car hit the maximum speed of 60 kmph. The battery energy storage is 6.5kWh and can sustain up to 150 km when fully charged. The body is Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic and the suspension has been tested for Indian roads. “The team started everything from the scratch. The students, all from different disciplines, have made practical use of their classroom learning,” said Dr P. Giridhar Kini, Associate Director, Manipal University.
The approximate production cost of this car is Rs 25 lakh. Funds were sponsored by companies like Coca-Cola, Agni Motors and Element14. Jeet Bannerjee said that their major challenge was convincing the people about their idea, arranging funds for production and procuring materials for building the car.
“We just provided them with a platform for their passion and innovation. “This is not a business proposition and there are no plans to introduce it in the commercial market yet,” said Mr Ashish Khanna, Executive Director and CEO, Tata Power Solar.
“There is no other joy than driving a self-made car with the belief that it will change the world of automobiles through this new drive towards solar technology,” Jeet said.