College Of Science & Technology Students In Bhutan Built Solar-Electric Vehicle
The vehicle resembles an auto-rickshaw but has better looks with Bhutanese design.
By Rajesh Rai | Kuensel
Engineering has found a new development at the College of Science and Technology (CST) in Phuentsholing.
Three electrical engineering students have developed a solar-powered electric vehicle as part of their project initiated by the CST’s Centre for Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development.
The college collaborated with JB Solar Solutions (JBSS), a local fabrication establishment in town.
The students have completed their prototype solar-electric vehicles between 10 December 2018 and January this year, under the 'on-the-job' training programme.
The students conceived the project idea as well as the design in the third year of their course.
Features of the new prototype solar-electric vehicle
The vehicle resembles an auto-rickshaw but has better looks with Bhutanese design. It can run at a maximum speed of 24 km per hour.
The battery bank which can be charged with solar energy and electricity, has a capacity of 3.36 kilowatt.
A single motor configuration with the rating of 1,000 watts is used in the rear axles of the vehicle to drive the load.
The electric vehicle can accommodate a maximum of three people, including the driver.
Aims of developing the prototype solar-electric vehicle
Lecturer Manjoj Sharma who is also the project guide, said that the primary objective behind this development is to improve expertise in the field of electrical engineering.
“This is because the government has plans to introduce electric vehicles in the country,” he said, adding that the intention is to develop technological know-how in this area.
Bhutan partnered with Nissan as part of the government's strategy to slash fuel imports and to increase the usage of Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Source: Youtube/Nissan 日産自動車株式会社
The project was also initiated in keeping with the college’s ambition to promote the use of renewable energy inside the campus.
Through such projects, the renewable and sustainable energy development centre aims to enhance experimental learning, leadership development, build partnership with local industry and encourage creativity and innovation amongst the students.
What some of the students involved in the project said
One of the three students, Phurba Sangay Sherpa said that the project is timely as Bhutan is already looking into importing electrical vehicles.
“It is an interesting project because it is based on renewable energy,” he said, adding that they would be able to sell their skills, as they already have hands-on experience.
Chechey, another student added that they got to learn about mechanical works through making the solar-electric vehicle.
Being a woman in the team, Deki Pema shared that she faced more challenges. Although the paper works were easy to handle, the project required more physical tasks.
“I may not have been involved physically in the entire fabrication works but I learned all about the procedures required,” she said.
If the government is supportive, Bhutan will not have to import solar-electric vehicles.
“If others can make the vehicle, so can the Bhutanese. Nothing is impossible, we just need to work hard,” said Deki Pema.
The CST has pumped in more than Nu 200,000 for this project. The solar-electric vehicle is applicable in the airports, high-end resorts, hotels, hospitals and sports stadiums.
This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.