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Universidad del Valle de México helps create a solar powered car

Special project is part of a national effort to bring business and academia together

09/09/2013


Universidad del Valle de México helps create a solar powered car

Dr. Nein Farrera Vazquez, Research Leader at Universidad del Valle de México Campus Tuxtla, and Dr. Joel Moreira Acosta, Director of the Center for Research and Technological Development of Renewable Energies from UNICACH presented a prototype vehicle powered by solar energy during the Forum for Business and Academic Partnership hosted by the Chiapas Council of Science and Technology as part of the CONACYT's program to Promote Innovation.

The project is funded by CONACYT and the company INVEMEX to develop new prototypes that use renewable energy in collaboration with both universities. The prototype uses a conventional electric recharging system complemented with solar power to generate electricity, which gives the vehicle more range than a traditional electric vehicle. According to preliminary estimates, the range has been augmented by between 20% and 30%. The prototype vehicle has 3 wheels and is 1.26m long, 1.06m wide and 1.82m high. It can fit up to 3 people in the back seat and one up front in the driver seat. It reaches a top speed of 30 km/h.

Current uses for the vehicle include basic passenger transportation and some public services like police surveillance or garbage collection. "This transport is very similar to the mototaxis currently operating in Chiapas, which use gasoline. In Chiapas we have a lot of sun exposure, which is very good for a photovoltaic system," said Professor Neín Farrera .

So far there are two vehicle prototypes. Both were very well received by the members of the Chiapas Council for Science and Technology and the companies that were invited to the presentation. There are many steps that need to take place before the vehicle can be launched to the public. "We need to undertake an economic study to identify whether potential consumers accept a vehicle with a slightly higher price than similar gas vehicles. For example, one municipality in Chiapas has proposed to use the vehicles so that the Police can better patrol the streets," added Professor Vazquez Farrera Nein. Based on its size and the fact that it does not pollute, the vehicle could easily circulate in Mexico City and other major cities of the Mexican Republic.

UVM students Yashy Portillo and Jesus Chanona participated in the project throughout the development process and saw firsthand that business and university partnerships can create new solutions to pressing problems.

This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.