Manipal: Engineering students of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Manipal University came up with yet another great performance when the solar car invented by Team SolarMobil was awarded the first prize at the QuEST Ingenium 2015 in Bengaluru on September 15, 2015. It was a tremendous achievement considering the fact that the team emerged the best from 5,794 entries across the country. This event was organized by QuEST Global and co-sponsored by Airbus, Qatar Airways, Aequs and ANSYS.
Team SolarMobil was among the top 10 on September 14. “That came as a big surprise to us,” said faculty coordinator, Umananda K V of Aeronautics and Automobile Department. The team got a prize money of Rs 1 lakh and three of them have been assured a visit to Airbus in Germany. Twenty students made the car. It is a two-seater passenger vehicle called “SERve” – Solar Electric Road Vehicle, with provision for two additional seats.
“Manipal University and MIT have supported us in making this dream car become a reality. It was manufactured in-house. I have seen them toil to complete it. They used to work late into night and sometimes into the wee hours of the next day. All of them were enthusiastic. Even Tata solar has supported us with the solar panel. We are now planning to have a geared car,” Umananda said.
The car took almost two years to be completed and cost about Rs 15 lakhs. Twenty seven students drawn from different disciplines built the car. Darshan Mehta, a third year Mechanical student said, “It was a very exciting experience. I also feel we will need to take it to the next level. And for that we need support from industries. The team aims to build solar vehicles for a clean future and abide by its motto of ‘Imagineering the future’.”
The team has built two prototypes – The FREYR-1 and SERVe (Solar Electric Road Vehicle). With FREYR-1, SolarMobil became the third Indian team to fabricate a solar car from scratch. SERVe is a two seater four-wheel solar vehicle. The car weighs 590 kg with a maximum speed of 60 kmph. The battery storage is 6.5kWh and can sustain up to 100 km when fully charged, with the solar panels generating 1KW of energy. The body is Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic (GFRP) and the suspension has been tested for Indian roads.
The Vice Chancellor of Manipal University, Dr H Vinod Bhat congratulated Team SolarMobil and said, “This is a commanding performance. It is a remarkable achievement to emerge winners from 5000 odd entries and is a feat in itself. I am sure the team will continue to do better with experience and build a better car the next time”. The car also received appreciation from Dr Ajit Prabhu – CEO of Quest Global, Martin Gehle – Head of Engineering at Airbus, Dr Mylswamy Annadurai – Director of ISRO Satellite Centre and others at the function in Bengaluru.