By Mimansa Bagri, Batch of 2020
NSIT’s Solar Car Concept is a team that prides itself on their four solar powered vehicles, the most recent of them being the Phoenix 1, which is one of the only solar electric cars driven in India. The project has received national recognition through various newspapers and media channels. Here’s what Yash Vardhan, a member of the Solar Car Concept, has to say about the renewable energy project, and how nothing else matters to him when his priorities are set straight.
The car looks quite complex and unique. What are its main specifications and capabilities?
The Phoenix 1, made by the NSIT solar car team, is a prototype solar-electric racing car. It is a zero carbon emission 3 wheel vehicle, which has a 3 kw BLDC motor (equivalent to a microwave oven), powered by a lithium ion battery, made of 420 cells, which are charged by 10 solar panel on the upper body.
The lithium ion battery reduces weight when compared to a lead acid battery. The car’s body is made of self-made carbon fiber reinforced polymer, which is twice as strong and half the weight when compared to conventional steel body. Due to these design optimizations, the car is capable of running at 75 kmph, can easily run 150 km without charging at night and can run on a longer stretch during day time. It has an advanced data monitoring system and a telemetry system.
How much time did it take for you to get Phoenix 1 ready, and most importantly, how were you able to find that time?
The time taken, from designing to fabrication, by team was about 1.5 years as the work was divided into the electrical, mechanical and marketing team. The proper division of work and between different departments made it possible to find time from our regular college schedule. According to me there is plenty of time to do what you like, it just depends on our priorities.
What was the overall expense of the car? Were you able to get any sponsorship?
The expense on the car was about Rs.15 lakhs, which is quite less when compared to other solar car teams worldwide like in Michigan, Nuon, Stanford etc. that have a budget which is 10-20 times more than us.
But we expect to reduce the cost involved about half the current price on mass production. The project is sponsored by Ministry of New and Renewable Resources of India, Bhilai Engineering Corporation Limited and Dassault Solidworks.
What was the biggest motivation that drove you to come up with an idea like this?
The project has already been a legacy of NSIT since 2009 and Phoenix 1 is the fourth car made by the society. The main motivation for us has been to represent our country on an International platform like World Solar Challenge, American Solar Challenge and United Solar challenge. Our primary aim has also been to spread awareness among everyone about a better and sustainable future.
Did you get any help from your professors on the project?
Our biggest technical and motivational help was given by our Faculty in charge, Dr. Ranjana Jha. She has not only stood by the team in the toughest of times, but has also guided us, just like a lighthouse guides a ship to the shore from the stormy sea.
Our seniors have also greatly supported us in this project, proving counsel at every step, whatever and wherever we needed.