Where Is My Solar Car?

BestsellerMagazine.com - CATEGORY Headline News: TITLE

The press release we received earlier this month was slightly more interesting, in that this particular Institute of Technology isn’t in Massachusetts, but Manipal, in southwest India. But as we read a bit more, it became even more compelling.

View image of Manipal University's SERVe solar-electric car (Credit: Credit: SolarMobil Manipal)

The prototype is called the SERVe, for Solar Electric Road Vehicle, and it’s a joint project of Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal University, and Tata Power Solar, India’s largest solar company. The latter is part of the same parent company that now owns Jaguar Land Rover and other transportation businesses, though those companies weren’t involved in this project.

View image of Manipal University's SERVe solar-electric car (Credit: Credit: SolarMobil Manipal)

The car looks like the future as envisioned in 1985, but since it’s more proof-of-concept than concept car, the aesthetics can be forgiven. The solar panels that cover the roof are a custom-curved design developed with Tata Solar, and they keep the car reasonably aerodynamic. The battery and power system are handled by a student-programmed Raspberry Pi (a single-board computer popular with hobbyists), and the car’s body is a fiberglass-reinforced plastic over steel tubing. Weighing in at 1300 pounds — including its Li-ion batteries — the two-seater has a range of more than 90 miles. Top speed is about 37mph, and its normal cruising speed is half that, which is slow but won’t put much strain on the chain-drive transmission.

View image of Manipal University's SERVe solar-electric car (Credit: Credit: SolarMobil Manipal)

In other words, Tata’s not about to slap the Jaguar emblem on this thing. But what makes this project compelling is that, unlike students at the other MIT and a hundred other universities, these students weren’t trying to build a solar vehicle that could travel the fastest, or the farthest, or used some heretofore-impossible technology. They were trying to build a solar car that not only worked, but one that could be commercially viable.

And once we figure out that problem with solar-powered vehicles, we’ll be on that road for good.

View image of Manipal University's SERVe solar-electric car (Credit: Credit: SolarMobil Manipal)

If you would like to comment on this or anything else you have seen on BBC Autos, head over to our >Facebook page or message us on >Twitter.

BestsellerMagazine.com, index News of business criminal law politics soccer sports celebrity lifestyle video images in the world and the world today.

Source : http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20150515-where-is-my-solar-car

Where is my solar car?
Car Talk: Solar panels on cars a good idea but not practical yet
Watch Tesla Celebrate Itself In New Video, Plus Unknown (?) Car
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car
The Neighbourhood Where Google Plans to Kill the Private Car
Yes, EVs are green and global warming is raising sea levels
Where Projects Are Born: Factory Five Racing
There Is Only One Trump Scandal
Solar Panels On Cars A Good Idea But Not Practical Yet
[LIMITED STOCK!] Related eBay Products