NEW DELHI: A non-polluting, solar powered car, designed by a school dropout from Bengaluru, could be the answer to the dangerously high pollution levels in Indian cities.
Sajjad Ahmed calls his car ‘Surya Jyoti.’ It has already made a 3,000 km test run from Bengaluru to New Delhi and now, India’s science ministry has decided to take forward the entrepreneur’s effort.
The cost of running the car, according to the innovator, is Re 1 a kilometre. Mr Ahmed put it together using parts from here and there, at a cost of Rs. 1.2 lakh. It uses five solar panels to charge regular lead acid batteries. It can run for up to 40 km on full charge and at a top speed of 30 km per hour. India’s science minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, who took a ride in the car, appeared impressed.
Dr Vardhan said, “This innovation has huge potential to become a user friendly public movement. Not only for India but for the world now that we are in a Solar Alliance globally…We want to take it forward in such a way that we come out with a very friendly car for people.” He has asked the Department of Science and Technology to support this effort so that the prototype can be made into a commercial success.
The car weighs about 450 kilograms and can ferry two passengers. He is now travelling to Haridwar and then wants to head to Rameshwaram to pay his homage to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, his role model. That would be a 6000 km trip.
Mr Ahmed said, “I have donated the car to the people. I do not consider this my car but the country’s car and a people’s car.”
No one in the auto industry has shown interest in the car, he said. Surya Jyoti does not have doors or a windscreen but offers a smooth ride. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the International Solar Alliance — a grand alliance of solar rich nations – in France. Mr Ahmed hopes back home he will notice his innovation and so will the industry.