Exclusive: University students in the Philippines unveil upgraded full-solar car

SIKAT II’s solar panels, which allow the vehicle to run exclusively on solar energy, have a total capacity of 1,200 to 1,300 watts

Students from the De La Salle University-Manila of the Philippines have unveiled an upgraded version of their solar car – SIKAT II.

SIKAT II’s solar panels, which allow the vehicle to run exclusively on solar energy, have a total capacity of 1,200 to 1,300 watts, requiring around the same amount of power to run at speeds of 80 kilometers per hour on a flat terrain.

With the Philippines still young when it comes to the solar industry, parts for the solar car were either designed and fabricated by the team or were imported from different countries.

The team behind the solar car had to design and produce parts such as telemetry, transceiver, lighting, and control boards, as well as the main switchboards, while other parts such as the lithium-ion batteries, solar trackers, and high efficiency three-phase motor and controller had to come from countries such as Japan, Australia, and Switzerland.

Karlo L. Matriano, part of SIKAT II’s wiring development team and an Electronics and Communications Engineering student at D.L.S.U., pointed out that SIKAT II is more than just an improvement from its predecessor SIKAT.

“It is an upgrade within the original body that can possible match that of a new solar car. The new telemetry system doubled, and now is capable of interfacing complete data from the solar panel array, instrumentation and control such as cruise control speed, accelerator input, breaking and the like, down to the battery condition and feed it to an escort car and the driver. In addition, it can also feed it to any Android phone for data logging,” Mr. Matriano told EcoSeed.

“As for durability and reliability, SIKAT II also improved due to the application of a new wiring design and implementation that is subjected to the scrutiny and check of leading automobile manufacturer engineers. Along with the improvements of the mechanical team in new wheel bearing and aerodynamic alterations, SIKAT II I believe is quite far in comparison to its former self,” he added.

The solar car was unveiled at the exhibition “Green Philippines 2013” just this August 15.

SIKAT II in competitive racing

The students plan to enter SIKAT II to the World Solar Challenge of 2013, a bi-annual event wherein solar cars compete against one another in a race that spans 3,000 kilometers – from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia.

“The main purpose of this race is to show the capacity of the Filipinos in solar technology as well as gain the interest of the solar energy manufacturers in the Philippines,” Mr. Matriano, also in charge of the wiring and auxiliary electronics for the race team, told EcoSeed.

If the efforts of the Philippine team at the W.S.C. bear fruit, the 2015 W.S.C. will be their next target, particularly for the solar car’s development team.

“We plan to continue developing solar cars using new technology within the resources available to us. We hope to join the World Solar Challenge again in 2015. More importantly, we seek to maximize the learning’s obtained from developing all previous solar cars by designing a more competitive solar car in the years to come,” explained the solar car’s Project and Team Manager for D.L.S.U.-Manila Richard Li.

“If all goes well during this W.S.C. 2013 for SIKAT II, we might be expecting a new solar car with four wheel pretty much like that of a regular car design in 2015 to join the W.S.C.,” he noted.

SIKAT II is the third generation of the solar car and builds upon the innovations of its predecessors, SINAG and SIKAT. SINAG, the first solar car project and the very first Philippine-made solar car, started its construction in 2007. It was then entered into the Sharp World Solar Challenge of 2007 where it finished 11th out of around 30 participants from all over the world.

In 2009, SIKAT was launched. It was toured all over the Philippines with the objective of increasing awareness and interest for solar energy.

ECOticias.com – EcoSeed

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