ISRO demonstrates solar electric hybrid vehicle

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSCC) facility in Thiruvananthapuram, a part of ISRO, successfully demonstrated a solar electric hybrid vehicle.

The effort was a multi-disciplinary initiative that combined expertise from the fields of automotive, electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering.

A solar panel to fit on the roof of the car was developed, along with an integral gearbox, control electronics for the battery and solar panel, and a conversion kit for fitting an electric motor to a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE).

Energy was supplied to the car through Lithium Ion batteries, with a high power super-capacitor to meet the power demands during conditions that required peak torque.

The high capacity solar panel mounted on the roof of the vehicle continuously juiced up the battery, as long as sun light was available.

A brushless motor was selected as it provided adequate torque, with reduced energy requirements, while being lightweight at the same time. ISRO took concentrated efforts to make sure that safety was not compromised during the integrations of various subsystems.

The solar hybrid vehicle was successfully demonstrated in a test drive, including an uphill drive. ISRO will now work on indigenous Lithium Ion fuel cells, supercapacitors and an electric motor.

ISRO considers solar and electric vehicles the most viable long term solution for using renewable energy sources for mobility. Conventional vehicles burning fossil fuels degrade the environment and pose serious health risks.

In its efforts to promote the use of renewable energy sources, ISRO has recently released a solar calculator application to increase the number of solar panel installations for domestic purposes.



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