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Manipal University students roll out first solar car

Posted: 24 Apr 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SERVe  Solar Electric Road Vehicle  solar car  solar panels  SolarMobil 

Students from the SolarMobil team at Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) unveiled their first prototype solar car, which is targeted at commercial usage. Dubbed as SERVe (Solar Electric Road Vehicle), the solar car is custom-fit with solar panels designed by Tata Solar Power. It is a good example of an industry-academia effort that will help increase the role of solar innovation in green mobility.

MIT is a constituent of Manipal University.

The four-wheeled prototype that runs solely on solar energy is designed by the above team of 27 student enthusiasts. Weighing 590kg, this two-seater solar car can reach up to 60kph with a cruising speed of 30kph.

Designed keeping in mind the mobility and commercial viability, the solar panels have been custom-made to fit the car's curved surface, enhancing the aerodynamics and performance of the vehicle. The highly efficient customised panels weigh just 35kg and provide up to 960W power. They also weigh less than half of the conventional panels.


From left to right: Dr P. Giridhar Kini, associate director, Manipal University; Jeet Bannerjee, team manager, SolarMobil; and Ashish Khanna, ED & CEO, Tata Power Solar standing beside SERVe, the prototype solar car.

The car houses a Direct Solar Drive, powered by solar panels, to maintain the cruising speed and is supplemented by extra power from its high-end energy storage system.

The vehicle's three main design and fabrication components include:

1. Customised solar panels. The customised solar panels provided by Tata Power Solar are made of high efficiency monocrystalline solar cells encapsulated with an aluminium backsheet and a light-weight polymer front sheet. These lightweight solar panels are placed along the curved surface of the car's roof, ensuring that the aerodynamics is not compromised.

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