Nigerian student Segun Oyeyiola has built the first prototype of a solar-wind car using the cabin of his old Volkswagen Beetle. The car runs on a flat grid of solar panels mounted on the roof along with a wind turbine installed under the bonnet. The determined student developed the car from scrap and spare parts donated by his family members and friends and limited funds. He wants to finish this ingenious project by making the car fully operational.
The making of such a car is no mean challenge. But with the right kind of attitude and hard work, such wonders can be achieved. Segun had some scrap and an old beetle to start work with. First what he did was to install a new and improved suspension system as the old one cannot bear the load of the solar panels and the heavy wind turbine combined.
Next off, he had to make modifications on the cabin especially while fitting the wind turbine under the bonnet. Since it is a beetle and the engine is in the back, it is relatively easier to install the turbine. Nigeria is a country with much seasonal variation and he hopes that harnessing the energy of both the energy forms will help the car be successful in such areas. Segun is particularly concerned with the seasonal disruptions caused by the fossil fuel emissions. By completing his project, he aims to reduce the emissions to a minimal level.
However, the current design is far from ideal as the car only gets a percentage of its power from the wind and solar sources. The batteries at the back required 4 to 5 hours of charging each time. So practically, the car is running on batteries charged with grid electricity rather than the solar/wind sources. Nonetheless, the idea is good and with further advancements & design improvements, can be made practical.