After having accomplished some remarkable milestones in the space technology, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is now focusing on the automobile space with an emphasis on renewable energy. The agency has demonstrated successful test drive of a solar hybrid electric car. ISRO says the car was designed and developed with in-house expertise at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), which the lead centre for launch vehicles development in ISRO. The test was conducted in March where the sola hybrid electric car successfully managed an uphill drive. Also Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needyAlso Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questioned
After successfully completing the test drive of the vehicle, ISRO is now said to be working on ways to minimize the car s cost. “Transportation has gained a great deal of importance in the growth of modern society by fulfilling the needs of mobility in everyday life. But vehicles using fossil fuels persistently bring serious problems to environment and life. Research and development activities constantly emphasize the acute need to develop high-efficiency, clean and safe transportation systems,” ISRO says on its website.
“Hence, the ideal transportation system should envisage zero-emission without any pollution. In this perspective, Solar and Electrical energy based hybrid vehicles provide the most effective and viable long-term solution by using renewable energy sources for mobility.”
What makes ISRO’s solar hybrid electric car is that the agency didn’t need to create a new car from scratch but work around an existing car. The space agency used a recycled Maruti Suzuki Omni for the demonstration. The ISRO engineers fitted a solar panel on roof of the car, and used a super-capacitor, an integral gear-box and control electronics for the battery and solar panel, and drive electronics. ISRO has also added an electric motor in the Omni which is actually an internal combustion engine (ICE) based vehicle.
The car was equipped with Lithium-ion batteries connected across high power density super-capacitors which supplied energy to get the car running. While the batteries sustained energy requirement, the super-capacitors helped maintain peak power demand. The solar panel placed on the rooftop uses sunlight to transfer energy to the batteries. To convert this energy to mechanical energy, a power conversion module between the energy system and electric motor was used. ALSO READ: 63-year-old Bengaluru man travels 3,000 km in self-made solar-powered car
While India’s automobile industry is growing at a fast pace and is estimated to become third-largest market in the world by this year, the hybrid car segment is still at a nascent stage at the moment. Though there are battery-powered cars like Reva and Mahindra e2o, they are yet to go mainstream. However, the Indian government has big plans for this space. The government has set a target of selling only electric cars in the country by 2030. We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. We are going to make electric vehicles self- sufficient like Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA). The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country, Power Minister Piyush Goyal recently said. ALSO READ: India aiming to have all-electric car fleet by 2030: Piyush Goyal
A bigger push to the electric car industry in India is expected to come from Tesla, which too has plans to launch electric cars in the country. Earlier this year, Elon Musk in a tweet revealed that the company was planning to formally enter the Indian market this ‘summer’. Back in September 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla headquarters. Modi and Musk held talks over Tesla s achievements in the battery technology, energy storage and renewable energy, and the positive implications of the innovation for India. ALSO READ: Tesla hoping to launch in India this summer: Elon Musk