Segun Oyeyiola, a Nigerian an engineering senior at Nigeria’s Obagemi Awolowo University has managed to build a car that runs on renewable energy. Friends and family of the college student donated free scrap parts for the project, which took about a year, and the rest of the parts cost under $6000. The car in question, a VW Beetle, can be seen below, all fitted with the necessary equipment.
Why would anyone do this?
In an email, Oyeyiola explained his motivation behind the project. He explains how seasonal cycles, ecosystems, agriculture, water, and food supply are all adversely affected by climate change he wanted to do something to reduce his carbon dioxide emissions. He went on to describe the wind and solar-powered car as his personal project for the problem he is trying to solve.
How does it work?
The reason solar powered cars haven’t been made before is because of the difficulty driving around at night. However, if Oyeyiola has really made a car that can run on both sunlight and wind power then that would eliminate that issue.
The VW Beetle has a number of features. Firstly, Oyeyiola installed a giant solar panel on the top of the car. Furthermore, he put a wind turbine in the front of the car under the hood. When the wind flows into the grill while the car is moving the turbine turns which charges the battery situated at the back of the car. A strong suspension system was also developed to allow for the weight of the battery.
Oyeyiola says he plans to work on the battery as it currently takes 4-5 hours to fully charge. While that will certainly be a challenge, he says the biggest challenge was to find the suitable materials to use all while ignoring the people telling him it was a waste of his time.
However, they don’t appear to be stopping Oyeyiola who just wants to keep making solar and wind-powered cars that are able to take advantage of the hot Nigerian weather. When asked what he was going to do after his finals, he said he will continue to improve the design of the car until it becomes Nigeria’s future car.
This is definitely an exciting development. If a car run on both sunlight and wind can be produced for under $6000, there is still hope that a similar car could be commercially produced that wouldn’t break the bank.