ISRO is not an organization to be trifled with. The Indian Space Research Organization has a flair for doing the most unexpected and astonishing things and achieving milestones that no one was even thinking about. After establishing itself firmly as a space entity to be reckoned with, the organization has come up with an impressive solar hybrid electric car that is made entirely using in-house resources.
The solar hybrid vehicle was demonstrated at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, and was made entirely using engineering prowess and resources already available within the organization.
Speaking on the topic, ISRO said:
Vehicles using fossil fuels persistently bring serious problems to environment and life. Research and development activities constantly emphasize the acute need to develop high-efficiency, clean and safe transportation systems. Hence, the ideal transportation system should envisage zero-emission without any pollution.
The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) designs and develops launch vehicles for ISRO. Many of us have grown up and feeling proud in many of ISRO’s achievements that VSSC has had a crucial hand in, including Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the Reusable Launch Vehicles.
Coming back to the car, the vehicle runs on high-energy lithium ion batteries. So you have minimal pollution and a readily available fuel technology. ISRO is now working upon new ways to reduce car costs including home-made Li-ion pouch cells and super capacitors.
You also get a solar panel on the roof of the car and an integral gear box. There is an internal combustion engine and the battery and the solar panel interface is supported and can be controlled through by control electronics. The car has already succeeded in its uphill driving test.
Solar and Electrical energy based hybrid vehicles provide the most effective and viable long-term solution by using renewable energy sources for mobility.
India isn’t particularly high on vehicles based upon renewable energy. Indigenous research and manufacturing could well help the country take its first solid steps in the direction. We would love for ISRO to start manufacturing this car for the masses but that time — if it ever comes, it just might with ISRO — is probably some time, and a lot of research away.