The groundbreaking KNUST Solar Vehicle is on its way to becoming the first ever solar-powered 4×4 automobile produced in Africa!
Students of the College of Engineering of The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), have continued to make Ghana proud with their various inventions and innovations in recent times.
From building drones to inventing world’s first open-space fire detector, KNUST has continued to set the pace as far as scientific and technological inventions and innovations are concerned. The latest on their list of innovations is a solar-powered vehicle.
The invention was achieved by KNUST Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Physics in partnership with the Technical University of Munich.
The newly manufactured 4×4 solar-powered automobile which is meant to be a passenger and cargo vehicle, was unveiled and launched at the 51st congregation of the KNUST in Kumasi by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II. The ceremony came off on Saturday, 6th July, 2017.
Speaking at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor of KNUST, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso said the invention of the solar vehicle is in line with the university’s effort to lead in the innovative technological development of the country, especially in the area of automobile manufacturing.
Prof. Obiri-Danso however, said the KNUST solar vehicle is still undergoing series of tests, aimed at putting in place some finishing touches that will bring it to the desired standard. And if this is completed soonest, it would become the first solar-powered 4×4 vehicle to be produced in Africa.
He therefor called on the government to provide the school with adequate funding, to enable it come up with more researches and innovations that will benefit the country’s development.
The Asantehene also commended the group that made the feat possible, while expressing hopes that the achivement would move the government into showing more zeal in providing support for more of such inventions.
Solar-Powered 4×4 Vehicle – What Exactly Is It?
A 4×4 (“four by four”) or 4WD, meaning “four-wheel drive transmission”, refers to type of a vehicle, specifically one with its drive-train capable of providing torque to all wheel ends of a two-axle vehicle simultaneously.
In most modern 4×4 vehicles, activation of the four-wheel drive is controlled by a button when required. When activated, poor road conditions or off-road problems like mud, heavily sandy, rocky or bumpy terrains become a problem of the past.
A solar 4×4 vehicle is therefore, a four-wheel drive electric car powered by direct energy from the sun. Usually, photo-voltaic (PV) cells contained in solar panels convert the sun’s energy directly into electric energy.
In some cases, the vehicle is completely powered by solar energy, including its entire propulsion and other auxiliary functions; but in some other cases, solar supplies some of the needed energy, while other sources of energy are also utilised.
At the moment, directly powered Solar vehicles are not on sale as day-to-day means of transportation, but are mainly used as demonstration vehicles and engineering exercises.
This is exactly why the KNUST Solar Vehicle will make a mark on global technological development, as it is meant to be a day-to-day passenger and cargo vehicle when finally completed.