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(Some Guy)   College student from Sierra Leone builds solar powered car from trash. General Motors looks on with envy   (blackenterprise.com) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Renewable energy, Further Africa, Emmanuel Alie Mansaray, Pollution, Sierra Leone, Student, Alternative energy, Energy  
•       •       •

558 clicks; posted to STEM » on 11 May 2021 at 4:45 AM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



16 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-05-11 3:26:03 AM  
Big deal. Vietnam is producing Lambos

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2021-05-11 6:57:27 AM  
If you do the math, you'll realize a couple of things.

1.  It has very low range.
2.  It has very low speed.

Looks like his solar panel is about 1 square meter.  That's about 1,120 watts hitting it at Noon, but the panel isn't 100% efficient, probably closer to 15%, so it'll generate more like 168 watts of electricity.

That's the equivalent of about 0.225 horsepower.  Or about what you could develop by pedaling the car like a bicycle.  And that's before you factor in any more losses.  There is a reason why solar power racer cars have huge collecting areas, are very lightweight, and very streamlined.

Seriously, this is a pretty dumb project.   I mean, yeah, kudos for building a working vehicle out of trash.  But solar powered cars are never going to be a practical thing simply because there isn't enough surface area on a car to collect enough sunlight to make it work for practical use.

They didn't give any performance figures at all.   Ask yourself why.
 
2021-05-11 7:03:19 AM  
Unlike GM's operating model which is build trash cars out of solar stored fossil fuels.
 
2021-05-11 7:40:00 AM  

dittybopper: If you do the math, you'll realize a couple of things.

1.  It has very low range.
2.  It has very low speed.

Looks like his solar panel is about 1 square meter.  That's about 1,120 watts hitting it at Noon, but the panel isn't 100% efficient, probably closer to 15%, so it'll generate more like 168 watts of electricity.

That's the equivalent of about 0.225 horsepower.  Or about what you could develop by pedaling the car like a bicycle.  And that's before you factor in any more losses.  There is a reason why solar power racer cars have huge collecting areas, are very lightweight, and very streamlined.

Seriously, this is a pretty dumb project.   I mean, yeah, kudos for building a working vehicle out of trash.  But solar powered cars are never going to be a practical thing simply because there isn't enough surface area on a car to collect enough sunlight to make it work for practical use.

They didn't give any performance figures at all.   Ask yourself why.


I don't see it as a dumb project at all - I mean, sure, if you're talking about commercializing it, it's not going to work out - but the project itself is pretty neat and I'm sure he's learned a lot going through it. Pretty good for a student to mess about.

It could be semi-practical in the right circumstances. If you can park it in the sun to charge batteries all week, then make a trip around town to pick up groceries or whatever, then park it for another week (maybe for someone who can walk/bike to where they need to be while it's charging, or maybe someone too old to pedal or carry things home). I would hope it also can be charged off the grid (no clue how reliable utilities are there, obviously).

I do wonder how much really came from the trash vs. how much was bought used - it seemed to have pretty good tires, and functioning solar cells aren't often just tossed. Batteries - maybe I could see, though they'd be lead acids with poor capacity and a lot of weight.
 
2021-05-11 7:54:45 AM  
Maybe they can call him Oscar, since he loves trash.
 
2021-05-11 7:56:52 AM  

eKonk: dittybopper: If you do the math, you'll realize a couple of things.

1.  It has very low range.
2.  It has very low speed.

Looks like his solar panel is about 1 square meter.  That's about 1,120 watts hitting it at Noon, but the panel isn't 100% efficient, probably closer to 15%, so it'll generate more like 168 watts of electricity.

That's the equivalent of about 0.225 horsepower.  Or about what you could develop by pedaling the car like a bicycle.  And that's before you factor in any more losses.  There is a reason why solar power racer cars have huge collecting areas, are very lightweight, and very streamlined.

Seriously, this is a pretty dumb project.   I mean, yeah, kudos for building a working vehicle out of trash.  But solar powered cars are never going to be a practical thing simply because there isn't enough surface area on a car to collect enough sunlight to make it work for practical use.

They didn't give any performance figures at all.   Ask yourself why.

I don't see it as a dumb project at all - I mean, sure, if you're talking about commercializing it, it's not going to work out - but the project itself is pretty neat and I'm sure he's learned a lot going through it. Pretty good for a student to mess about.

It could be semi-practical in the right circumstances. If you can park it in the sun to charge batteries all week, then make a trip around town to pick up groceries or whatever, then park it for another week (maybe for someone who can walk/bike to where they need to be while it's charging, or maybe someone too old to pedal or carry things home). I would hope it also can be charged off the grid (no clue how reliable utilities are there, obviously).

I do wonder how much really came from the trash vs. how much was bought used - it seemed to have pretty good tires, and functioning solar cells aren't often just tossed. Batteries - maybe I could see, though they'd be lead acids with poor capacity and a lot of weight.


The problem is that adding batteries adds weight, weight you can't afford to add, and as you say they'd be heavy lead acid batteries, probably with reduced capacity.  That reduces your possible speed and range even more.

It does allow you to time-shift when you can drive it so it's not just during the day, and it will give you perhaps a bit of extended range beyond solar only range at any one time, but you pay for that on the back end by having to charge the batteries back up again.  Plus, the added weight of batteries means lower top speed.

TANSTAAFL.

This is no doubt a cool project for a college student, but not really worthy of a magazine article.  In fact, if he was a white kid from Mooseknuckle, Iowa, you'd never have never heard about it.  Because blackenterprise.com
 
2021-05-11 8:05:28 AM  
It's still more reliable than a Jaguar E-type
 
2021-05-11 8:05:32 AM  
Looks roomy.
 
2021-05-11 8:29:36 AM  
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Well, he has the right idea. You can't get enough power to charge a conventional electric vehicle in a reasonable time (say less than a week) from solar panels that would fit on the vehicle. So he set reasonable goals and made the car super light (looks like wicker), just drives around town, lives where there is plenty of overhead Sun. He has maybe 200W of panels there, and it is probably more like a golf cart in speed and range.
 
2021-05-11 8:30:14 AM  
Probably faster than my civic..
 
2021-05-11 8:36:53 AM  

dittybopper: eKonk: dittybopper: If you do the math, you'll realize a couple of things.

1.  It has very low range.
2.  It has very low speed.

Looks like his solar panel is about 1 square meter.  That's about 1,120 watts hitting it at Noon, but the panel isn't 100% efficient, probably closer to 15%, so it'll generate more like 168 watts of electricity.

That's the equivalent of about 0.225 horsepower.  Or about what you could develop by pedaling the car like a bicycle.  And that's before you factor in any more losses.  There is a reason why solar power racer cars have huge collecting areas, are very lightweight, and very streamlined.

Seriously, this is a pretty dumb project.   I mean, yeah, kudos for building a working vehicle out of trash.  But solar powered cars are never going to be a practical thing simply because there isn't enough surface area on a car to collect enough sunlight to make it work for practical use.

They didn't give any performance figures at all.   Ask yourself why.

I don't see it as a dumb project at all - I mean, sure, if you're talking about commercializing it, it's not going to work out - but the project itself is pretty neat and I'm sure he's learned a lot going through it. Pretty good for a student to mess about.

It could be semi-practical in the right circumstances. If you can park it in the sun to charge batteries all week, then make a trip around town to pick up groceries or whatever, then park it for another week (maybe for someone who can walk/bike to where they need to be while it's charging, or maybe someone too old to pedal or carry things home). I would hope it also can be charged off the grid (no clue how reliable utilities are there, obviously).

I do wonder how much really came from the trash vs. how much was bought used - it seemed to have pretty good tires, and functioning solar cells aren't often just tossed. Batteries - maybe I could see, though they'd be lead acids with poor capacity and a lot of weight.

The problem is that addin ...


This is the sort of thing that would have suited my old neighbor quite well. He was retired and his kids had convinced him to give up driving, but he was still a surly old drunk who enjoyed an occasional beer or ten. He would take his riding mower (with a little trailer) a couple miles down the road to get beer (and gas for the mower) once a week, or whenever he was too sober to stay home.

Now that I think about it, this basic setup is already pretty easily available - there are kits for sale to add a solar panels/trickle chargers to electric golf carts. For someone who doesn't use it too much, they might be adequate to avoid plugging in (or at least could make a good supplement to reduce the power bill).
 
2021-05-11 11:56:43 AM  

eKonk: dittybopper: If you do the math, you'll realize a couple of things.

1.  It has very low range.
2.  It has very low speed.

Looks like his solar panel is about 1 square meter.  That's about 1,120 watts hitting it at Noon, but the panel isn't 100% efficient, probably closer to 15%, so it'll generate more like 168 watts of electricity.

That's the equivalent of about 0.225 horsepower.  Or about what you could develop by pedaling the car like a bicycle.  And that's before you factor in any more losses.  There is a reason why solar power racer cars have huge collecting areas, are very lightweight, and very streamlined.

Seriously, this is a pretty dumb project.   I mean, yeah, kudos for building a working vehicle out of trash.  But solar powered cars are never going to be a practical thing simply because there isn't enough surface area on a car to collect enough sunlight to make it work for practical use.

They didn't give any performance figures at all.   Ask yourself why.

I don't see it as a dumb project at all - I mean, sure, if you're talking about commercializing it, it's not going to work out - but the project itself is pretty neat and I'm sure he's learned a lot going through it. Pretty good for a student to mess about.

It could be semi-practical in the right circumstances. If you can park it in the sun to charge batteries all week, then make a trip around town to pick up groceries or whatever, then park it for another week (maybe for someone who can walk/bike to where they need to be while it's charging, or maybe someone too old to pedal or carry things home). I would hope it also can be charged off the grid (no clue how reliable utilities are there, obviously).

I do wonder how much really came from the trash vs. how much was bought used - it seemed to have pretty good tires, and functioning solar cells aren't often just tossed. Batteries - maybe I could see, though they'd be lead acids with poor capacity and a lot of weight.


I was curios on that too. Also musing whether the stupid paywall article tried to charge me more than he spent on actually building the car. Really, paywall article for something a dude in Africa did "free" is just pants on head you know what.
 
2021-05-11 12:07:54 PM  

Luse: eKonk: dittybopper: If you do the math, you'll realize a couple of things.

1.  It has very low range.
2.  It has very low speed.

Looks like his solar panel is about 1 square meter.  That's about 1,120 watts hitting it at Noon, but the panel isn't 100% efficient, probably closer to 15%, so it'll generate more like 168 watts of electricity.

That's the equivalent of about 0.225 horsepower.  Or about what you could develop by pedaling the car like a bicycle.  And that's before you factor in any more losses.  There is a reason why solar power racer cars have huge collecting areas, are very lightweight, and very streamlined.

Seriously, this is a pretty dumb project.   I mean, yeah, kudos for building a working vehicle out of trash.  But solar powered cars are never going to be a practical thing simply because there isn't enough surface area on a car to collect enough sunlight to make it work for practical use.

They didn't give any performance figures at all.   Ask yourself why.

I don't see it as a dumb project at all - I mean, sure, if you're talking about commercializing it, it's not going to work out - but the project itself is pretty neat and I'm sure he's learned a lot going through it. Pretty good for a student to mess about.

It could be semi-practical in the right circumstances. If you can park it in the sun to charge batteries all week, then make a trip around town to pick up groceries or whatever, then park it for another week (maybe for someone who can walk/bike to where they need to be while it's charging, or maybe someone too old to pedal or carry things home). I would hope it also can be charged off the grid (no clue how reliable utilities are there, obviously).

I do wonder how much really came from the trash vs. how much was bought used - it seemed to have pretty good tires, and functioning solar cells aren't often just tossed. Batteries - maybe I could see, though they'd be lead acids with poor capacity and a lot of weight.

I was curios on that too. ...


This link might be better. Not a ton of info (there's a short video, gives some more views of the thing and a few specs).  Seems fun enough, if not fast (claimed 15 km/h top speed is unimpressive, but still - if your option was walking and lugging stuff around in tropical heat, not too bad).
 
2021-05-11 12:14:40 PM  

eKonk: Luse: eKonk: dittybopper: If you do the math, you'll realize a couple of things.

1.  It has very low range.
2.  It has very low speed.

Looks like his solar panel is about 1 square meter.  That's about 1,120 watts hitting it at Noon, but the panel isn't 100% efficient, probably closer to 15%, so it'll generate more like 168 watts of electricity.

That's the equivalent of about 0.225 horsepower.  Or about what you could develop by pedaling the car like a bicycle.  And that's before you factor in any more losses.  There is a reason why solar power racer cars have huge collecting areas, are very lightweight, and very streamlined.

Seriously, this is a pretty dumb project.   I mean, yeah, kudos for building a working vehicle out of trash.  But solar powered cars are never going to be a practical thing simply because there isn't enough surface area on a car to collect enough sunlight to make it work for practical use.

They didn't give any performance figures at all.   Ask yourself why.

I don't see it as a dumb project at all - I mean, sure, if you're talking about commercializing it, it's not going to work out - but the project itself is pretty neat and I'm sure he's learned a lot going through it. Pretty good for a student to mess about.

It could be semi-practical in the right circumstances. If you can park it in the sun to charge batteries all week, then make a trip around town to pick up groceries or whatever, then park it for another week (maybe for someone who can walk/bike to where they need to be while it's charging, or maybe someone too old to pedal or carry things home). I would hope it also can be charged off the grid (no clue how reliable utilities are there, obviously).

I do wonder how much really came from the trash vs. how much was bought used - it seemed to have pretty good tires, and functioning solar cells aren't often just tossed. Batteries - maybe I could see, though they'd be lead acids with poor capacity and a lot of weight.

I was curios on tha ...


Oh I agree, dude is clever as fark and absolutely going places. He's not gonna break any land speed records but he does have a car, and more than that the accomplishment and knowledge he picked up building it. In his place I'd try to use what I learned for things like AC units or fans, lights for the village etc. He's already a rockstar but could very easily be the local hero.
 
2021-05-11 12:15:38 PM  

mjjt: Big deal. Vietnam is producing Lambos

[Fark user image 850x527]


That's.......        Actually not too bad.

I mean, no one's going to mistake it for a real one, but the metal work isn't all that bad for what is I am sure a hand-built copy,
 
2021-05-11 12:38:50 PM  

dittybopper: mjjt: Big deal. Vietnam is producing Lambos

[Fark user image 850x527]

That's.......        Actually not too bad.

I mean, no one's going to mistake it for a real one, but the metal work isn't all that bad for what is I am sure a hand-built copy,


It's better than the Top Gear electric car by any metric, and I'm sure they spent 10X as much on theirs.

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