Published: 25th January 2019
This Bengaluru student's three-wheeled solar vehicle needs to be recharged only once every 15 days
We talk to Byre Gowda, a mechanical engineer who built a three-wheeled vehicle that works on solar energy for his college project
At a time when the cost of petrol and diesel are increasing every day, this student from Karnataka has come up with a solution that won't burn a hole through your pockets. And what was his solution? Solar energy, of course. Byre Gowda G is a 23-year-old mechanical engineer who graduated from Alva's Institute of Engineering and Technology just three months ago. As a part of his final-year engineering project, he developed a solar, electric, three-wheeler vehicle and called it 'Go Green Glow Green - SET 3'. "I always wanted to contribute to society, so I developed this idea of building a vehicle that doesn't use petrol or diesel. When I was pursuing a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering in Bengaluru, I observed that there were a lot of vehicles on the road which led to a high amount of air pollution. I decided to develop this vehicle that can be used in metro cities and contribute to keeping the environment green."
Explaining the working principle of the vehicle, he says, "The vehicle runs purely on solar energy and no other alternative source can be used. There are two solar panels that are fixed on the top of the vehicle which absorbs the Sun's energy. We have used a converter that converts and transfers this energy to a lithium battery. The excess energy is stored in the battery. This energy is later transferred to the motor controller and then, to the hub motor which controls all the functions of the vehicle. Once this energy is supplied to the hub motor, the vehicle moves forward."
Try solar: It took more than a year for him to build this eco-friendly vehicle
Unlike other vehicles, this one is weightless and corrosion free as the young innovator has designed it using aluminium alloy 6063 instead of iron or other heavy metals. The size of the vehicle is small too. While the length is five feet, its width is only three feet and its thickness is only one inch. "I have built this while keeping in my mind the congestion on roads in metro cities. Huge vehicles and cars occupy a lot of space, leading to traffic jams. But this vehicle occupies very little space. For instance, you can park four such solar-electric vehicles in the place of one Swift," he explains.
But don't be fooled by its simplicity. The vehicle comes equipped with a GPRS tracking system, seat belt and remote control facilities. Wait! Remote control facilities? "If someone steals the vehicle, it can be locked and automatically stopped by the remote control system, provided that the vehicle is within a 20-metre radius, of course. I am working to increase this distance though," says Gowda. When it comes to covering distance, the vehicle is built to be used while travelling to and from the office. The vehicle can travel up to 70 to 80 kilometres per hour with just the driver and it can cover up to 65 kilometres per hour if two people are seated. One need not take the trouble to charge the battery as it absorbs a good amount of solar energy when it is parked. The time required to charge the vehicle is just four hours. If the user can maintain a speed of 45 kilometres per hour, then the vehicle needs to be charged only once in 15 days.
Good mileage: The vehicle can cover 75-80 kilometres per hour with just the driver riding it
Byre Gowda has left no stone unturned to make this dream a reality. Though he studied in Mangaluru, he would travel often to Bengaluru in search of equipment and material to make the vehicle look and work uniquely. "It took me one year to build it. I also worked on the design through the CAD/CAM software. It was not easy for me as I was trying to do it on my own and chose to spend extra hours during the holidays on this. Sometimes, the vehicle design would look awkward and I had to start again. It is a trial and error process," he says, adding that he spent nearly Rs 1,50,000 to complete the project. And if someone wants to invest and mass produce it, it will cost Rs 80,000 per vehicle.