Just imagine entering your car, starting the engine and driving to work, all without burning fuel or plugging your car into a charging station.
Solar-powered cars are nothing new, but they are yet to go mainstream, majorly because they are impractical in terms of what most of us would find acceptable or even desirable and let’s not forget the battery issue. But this hasn’t stopped a lot of people, especially in Africa from making different variations of solar-powered cars. The latest example happened last week, a 30-year-old Kenyan student built a solar-powered car that could cover about 50 km in a day on a full charge.
He is not the first, though. This Nigerian — Segun Oyeyiola — beat him to it.
In 2013, Segun Oyeyiola built the first solar-powered car in Nigeria (As far as we know).
However, his solar-powered car took about 4-5 hours to charge and could barely cover a long distance.
Fast forward to 2015, where the students from THE UKZN School of Engineering’s solar car team unveiled their solar-powered car, or should I say, their solar-powered Racecar.
The following year, Uganda took it a step further with a Solar-powered bus:
Kayoola — the name of the solar-powered bus—has a power capacity of 150KW (204HP) peak and solar power of 1320W and can be charged by solar panels on the roof which increases the vehicle’s 80km (50 miles) range.
Still in 2016, 16-year-old Nigerian — Ihere-serg Mascot—built the first solar-powered car in his state — Ebonyi State — making him the first teenager to do so in Africa.
No words on the distance his car cover on a full charge, but you’ve to applaud his efforts.
In the same year, another Nigerian — Ekomobong Finbarr — an undergraduate student of Electrical-Electronics Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, built a solar-powered Keke napep for his final year project
His Solar-powered Keke napep was able to travel 11km without needing a recharge.
In 2017, Ghanaians finally showed the world they were not going to be left out in the solar-powered car race.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) built a sturdy looking solar-powered car using indigenous technology.
While they are still a possibility, solar-powered cars are still a long way off, but it’s really great to see these guys try to keep Africa in the conversation.