Tata Power Solar and Manipal University have unveiled the SERVe (Solar Electric Road Vehicle) prototype in Bangalore. The prototype – built by a team of 27 students from the university in collaboration with Tata Power Solar – aims to explore commercial viability for solar powered cars.
The solar car prototype is built on a tubular spaceframe chassis with a glass fibre reinforced body and gets bespoke solar panels made by Tata Power Solar along with a complex data management system. The four-wheeled prototype weighs in at around 590kg and gets a two-seat layout.
The prototype is powered by a chain-drive electric motor and gets a Direct Solar Drive, allowing the prototype to run on direct sunlight alone. The solar panel is supplemented by rechargeable lithium-ion cells for additional power, allowing the car a claimed top speed of around 60kph and a claimed cruising speed of 30kph maintainable on Direct Solar Drive.
SERVe becomes the showcase of an industry-academia effort that aims to help increase the role of solar power technology in all-electric and hybrid vehicles.