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Indian Students all set to rock in the Solar Car SASOL Challenge

Can you imagine a car which can run on solar energy, although this concept is already done & there is nothing new in this, but it has been stated that this solar car concept is still under experimental stage and many companies around the world are still striving to get this done. Many muti-national companies are investing a lot of money in order to build a car that can run on solar energy without any drawbacks, as we know the main drawback with this concept when compared to the fuel based car is speed.

Many solar cars cannot deliver top speed drive like petrol and diesel variants. Unlike other countries India is quite new to this concept, but this thing will change in the future as a team of twenty seven enthusiastic engineers from Manipal University have built a 2 seater solar-powered car that can reach up to 120Km/h and they call this project :SERVe. SERVe stands for Solar Electric Road Vehicle. This team will be representing India at the 2014 South African Solar Challenge (SASOL14).


SERVe Advent & History:

This project SERVe was first started in 2011 by the students of manipal, their first offering, a single seater race car. After working for three consecutive years the team came up with another car which has an architecture that supports the scope for commercial usage. The SERVe automobile can achieve a top speed of up to 120Km/h, and 60Km/h when powered by only solar panels so it is a dual breed. It took a period of 15 months from turning out from initial stage to final stage for the SERVe. However, they are still in the process of giving the body a final touch which includes aerodynamic look, some design changes etc. After this, the team will work on final testing, calibration, design and also the looks and gathering the data regarding the performance of the car. After completing the final procedures and testing SERVe will participate in the 2014 South African Solar Challenge (SASOL14).


SASOL14 – South African Solar Challenge (SASOL14):

South African Solar Challenge (SASOL14) is an international race event which is held every year in South Africa exclusively for these types of cars which runs on solar energy. In this event the challenge is to cover a distance of 4,000Kms in South African outback in the cars which are designed by those respective contestants. It takes around 8-10 days to complete this challenge. The main objective of this competition is to test the vehicle’s maximum limits. The students who invented this car are confidently saying that this car will give a tough competition as it is equipped with a high capacity battery pack that enables the vehicle to run up to a distance of 300-350 km on a single charge and this range can be increased by providing additional solar charge from the sun on that racing day. The SASOL14 has number of participant from all around the world.

It takes an investment of around  $50,000 for the engineer’s to build this solar monster, but here the main advantage for the SERVe in the competition is that the cost which is put on building this car is 30 times cheaper than other cars which are participating in the competition and this can be a huge asset for the team to gain popularity in this solar segment cars. But that’s just only for the initialization and development stage, and the project will need lot of investment once it gets to the commercialization phase and the team is going to seek the assistance from Indian government as well as from top notched motor companies including Tata Solar, KEI and Altairhyperworks.



This idea can help any country to grow more in solar based vehicle segments by creating a history in global automotive industry. It will help India to become pioneer in automobile industry in par with the most renowned automotive countries around the world. If this project is successful then the India can be a rival to Germany which is considered to be the most predominant vehicle manufacture of all time global automotive industry.

Not only this, there will be a huge advantage with regards to the environmental issues as petrol & diesel vehicle are considered to be the most pollutant vehicles. This vehicle can be an amazing gift to Mother Nature. Fingers crossed, lets await the results of the challenge & lets hope for the best to happen 🙂

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