In a recent discussion, Tom Boddington, Research Scholar and Designer of Gwawr solar car, debated the future of electric cars and their viability at the British Library-9 on Friday (Feb.19) with fellow researcher Natasha Samantha and Dr. Guru Gujral, Head, Science Environment and Technology, British Council India.
Made of plywood and steel, the three feet long car has 60 solar panels that convert solar energy into charge for batteries.
The car attains average speeds of about 80 km an hour. The best part is that the car can become viable as it gives more space, if the solar panel is taken-off; the car also has a second mode -- electric power.
Boddington said that he and his team has a huge advantage over the other advanced car manufacturers.
"Any advantages from a light weight advanced car are negligible from the amount of carbon it generates during recycling. So, we look at the whole lifecycle of the vehicle, which is the difference between us and other manufacturers. That's why we won the environmental awareness award in 2007. It is the most eco friendly solar car ever made," said, Boddington.
They are working on higher version of the car, which will attain a speed of 177 km per hour.
Boddington insisted that the point is not whether people want to use solar cars or electric cars; it is a necessity.
On a practical note, Boddington accepted the fact that solar energy alone couldn't be used in vehicles. It has to be combined with some other form of energy, be it electrical or a fossil fuel.
He opined that the technology should be shared so that it can yield better results. That's the reason his group shared technology of making solar cars with the students of Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. By Sunil Sharma