Students of the new ‘Arusha Science High School,’ have successfully designed and actually built a Solar Powered truck, capable of covering 160 kilometers’ distance on single charge.
But the rear-axle driven car is also self-charging, so there is no need to keep plugging it in. Tesla, are you taking notes?
A giant 300 Watts solar panel serves as both the roof on the driver’s cabin as well as the sun energy trapper to power the four batteries with a total output of 48 volts.
Despite being on trial stage, the vehicle can accelerate at 60 kilometers per hour while carrying more than 500 kilograms on its flatbed.
On its own, the truck tips the scale at 600 kilograms, thus when fully loaded the car presses the ground at just 1.1 tons.
Walter Tairo and Glenyce Amani both Form Five Students at Arusha Science High School, take awed visitors around the prototype.
The Solar-Powered electric vehicle is among the 26 applied science projects at the new school.
A team of five environment conscious students intending to change the way people travel devised the pick-up vehicle.
Walter, Glenyce and Kennedy Jackson, Elisha Emmanuel and Dorcas Vincent started working on the prototype vehicle in 2021.
At the moment, the car is working well, doing errands inside the large school compound, students and teachers proudly drive it.
But the industrious inventors are not yet through with it.
“We are still working on it,” says Walter Tairo. Apparently up this stage the project has taken them nine months and a budget of 3 million Tanzanian shillings.
But, as it seems, they plan to further convert the truck into a self-driving vehicle.
The students want to computerize the model, feed it with digital maps, some artificial intelligence set-up and you can summon the vehicle from anywhere in the world through cloud computing.
Electric vehicles are not new, both technology and mechanical companies have been producing them in plenty.
Think of the global popular Tesla, Apple, Google and Sony. Then the old players like Nissan and Toyota have all been working on various prototypes.
Even in Tanzania and around East Africa, Safari Vehicle outfitters, such as Hanspaul Automechs have been swapping diesel engines in Toyota Land-cruisers with electric motors.
However, where the students of Arusha Science shine, is the fact that they build their prototypes from scratch using very minimal and extremely cheap materials.
For instance, the entire solar-powered vehicle cost less than USD 1300 to build.
And it works perfectly. Karl Benz and Elon Musk would have killed to produce such a thing at the thrifty budget.
Arusha Science, established in 2020 may be a new institution, but the technological brains filling its classrooms are enough to make Nicola Tesla proud.
The school is essentially a practical scientific brains trust. It is the first and so far only learning institution in the country which has a 3D printer. In fact TWO 3D PRINTERS. That’s how many?