Riding high on its solar car innovation, the Electro-X India team led by Akhilesh Tripathi, from Galgotias University is now gearing up to take part in the upcoming Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia
Electric mobility is steadily gaining momentum across the globe and in India, a strong push from the government has slowly but surely sowed the seeds of an electric vehicle ecosystem in the country. Fascinated by the thought of electric mobility coupled with the excitement built around such clean energy vehicles, the Electro-X India team, led by Akhilash Tripathi - a 4th year engineering student from Greater Noida-based Galgotias University - buckled down to the task of designing and building a zero emission solar electric vehicle in its bid to identify a sustainable, environmentally-friendly mode of transportation.
Akhilash with unstinted support from his best friends - Abhishek, Jayant, Chandramanshu, Ruchit and Adwait embraced the challenge of making a two-seater solar electric vehicle. Besides Akhilesh’s close friends, the Electro-X India team over the past one year has had engaged hundreds of student volunteers and industry experts to build this zero emission vehicle.
Over the years, there has been a great deal of concern in the country over the environmentally-unfriendly fossil fuels being leveraged across the Indian mobility space while moving people from one destination to another. Fossil fuels emit harmful gases that pollute the air and have a detrimental effect on the planet. And to top it all, fossil fuel deposits on the earth are not going to last forever given the growth of the world economy.
This solar car uses the sun as fuel and has zero emission that can be a solution to rising fuel prices, growing air pollution and global warming. “Today’s cars consume a lot of fossil fuel and produce even more harmful gases. So there is a strong need to find a sustainable and efficient way to power our mobility space,” observed team spearhead Akhilesh.
The Electro-X India team strived to design and develop a solution to meet the future mobility needs. The Akhilesh-led team started from scratch – it designed and built every single part of the car be it chassis, suspension system, aerodynamic body to the entire electrical system. The chassis, suspension system and other vehicle dynamics were put through a number of simulation and prototype phases and the end result was the solar electric car.
The team developed the solar car’s chassis and other components of the frame largely from aircraft grade aluminium (7075T6). The Electro-X India team built the body out of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) that has an extremely strong body and offers light weight. Further, the total weight of the solar car is less than 200 kg. This solar car has the capabilities to operate upto 100 km on a single day of solar energy.
The Akhilesh-led team used a two in-wheel hub motor of 2000-watt each – basically, the entire motor is built within the wheels that provides direct power delivery to the wheels, thus eliminating the need for transmission system and differential. The power source of the vehicle is 3 solar panels with a combined power of 1000-watt covering around 90% of the car’s top. These are highly flexible and lightweight solar panels. Since the car runs on solar energy, the team has built a battery pack out of Lithium Polymer (18650) cells. The battery pack acts as a reservoir - it collects solar energy through the day and delivers power to the motor.
The Electro-X India team is now gearing up to participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge that will be held in Australia later this year. The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is an international level race, where teams from top universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford and Michigan Universities will take part. The Electro-X India team is looking forward to utilising the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge opportunity to advance its research towards a more efficient and advanced electric vehicle.
The Electro-X India team enjoys the strong backing of Galgotias university, and is focussing on a collaboration with government bodies, private companies and other key players to create awareness about zero emission vehicles.
The team believes an innovative and creative thought process will help build responsible adults, better engineers and eventually a progressive society. The Akhilesh-led team want its solar car innovation to inspire young minds to pursue science, technology and engineering as well as encourage them to come up with innovative and sustainable solutions towards solving the problems of the society.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua