Much of Afghanistan has been in a state of turmoil for the better part of last forty years. More than two generations of Afghanis have survived the sad affairs of the state, and many fled the country in search of greener pastures. For those who want to stay, life is tough outside the main cities, and there is widespread corruption and mismanagement at a state level. So, basically, not the best place where technological research could take place. This young self-taught Afghan engineer Mustafa Muhammadi has learned to put his talents to work despite all the negative environment in the country and work for the cause of reducing pollution and traffic jams by building the first Solar bike in the region.
Taking just 45 days to build, the solar powered motorbike that doesn’t pollute the environment and even has a pedal system to recharge the batteries in cloudy days. The engineer hopes it will improve the quality of life in his country. He is also quite patriotic and believes that Afghans can do anything if they are given the chance, and technological progress is something that will benefit the war-torn country for ages to come. He also wanted to provide a working solution for the families who used motorcycles for transport and were unsafe on the roads. As a result, his new solar bike has an entirely covered frame that will also protect the driver and passenger from all the dust. The design is quite smooth, and I particularly like how he has incorporated pedals to recharge the batteries in cloudy days.
It took him 45 days and 1548 USD to complete the project. Most of the body and suspension were made from salvaged parts of motorcycles and cars. The motorcycle is three-wheeler and presents an interesting choice. The Photon as he eventually named it, is powered by 60-volt batteries and has a solar panel on the top. It can attain a maximum speed of forty kilometers on the go as well. The Afghan government hasn’t particularly been helpful with the new vehicle as well. According to Muhammadi, the local administration has failed to grant a temporary license and papers for it, and as a result, he is frequently pulled over by traffic officers who fined him for the absence of documents. He has also been regularly courted by the law enforcement departments because they thought it was a drone or something that might be dangerous! RIP technology I’d say!
Still, he keeps rolling out as he has learned to in his entire life. According to the Polytechnic University of Kabul, a lot of innovative ideas go to waste because of a lack of financial and moral support from the government. In this scenario of war and poverty, these small deeds will go a long way in bringing hope back to the Afghan people and start trusting themselves. Hats off for your effort Mustafa!