Heir to the legendary Bulli van of the ‘60s, the official vehicle of the hippie movement, the new Volkswagen van is electric and self-driving. It has eight seats and can be turned into a living room. It will be produced starting from 2021.
Gaza. Students build Palestine’s first solar car
The prototype was developed by two Palestinian 23-year-old students, who self-funded. The car reaches a speed of up to 30 km/h.
In the Gaza Strip, electricity is often lacking. Israel, after the peace agreements, has assumed control of much of Palestine’s energy sources and supplies. For this reason, two students of the University of Gaza, Jamal Al Miqaty and Khalid Al Bardawil, who are mechatronical engineers, have decided to invent Palestine’s first solar car.
This two-seater car is equipped with two photovoltaic panels, one on the roof and one on the rear, that use solar energy and transform it into electricity to provide the car’s small engine with energy. Inspired in the permanent shortage of electricity and diesel, the two students have used their knowledge to create a functioning prototype.
“By building this vehicle we wanted to introduce a prototype as some European universities did. We wanted to spread awareness and the culture of using solar power through these projects. We made this project and it is the first in the Gaza Strip, to design a vehicle from A to Z which works on solar power”, Amer told The Express Tribune.
A solar car in Gaza
What is really surprising is that the two boys had to design and build the engine from scratch. The students told that in Gaza it was impossible to find a direct current motor and nobody knew how to realise one. “So we had to get a motor and make a lot of changes to it, and these changes were not easy to make”, Al Miqaty stated.
Electricity blackouts always disrupt the daily life in Gaza: some international agencies say that today Gaza receives half of its electricity demand. This determines the social life of its inhabitants as well as shops and businesses.
So, renewable sources, particularly solar energy, could pave the way to energy independence in Palestine. “If this project is implemented, we will reduce our dependency on Israeli energy”, Al Miqaty said. “We hope that this project will be commercialized and can benefit the Gaza Strip in the near future”.
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