SERVe stands for Solar Electric Road Vehicle and is indigenous in every sense of the word.
A crack team of 27 students from Manipal Institute of Technology have built a solar-powered car that can hit 60 km/h. The team spent two years designing and developing the SERVe and was sponsored by Tata Power Solar. The latter also supplied the crucial solar panels, which usually amounts for most of the cost for a vehicle such as this. The SERVe weighs around 590 kg and can seat two people. The solar panels have been purpose-built to fit the SERVE’s curved body and weigh only 35 kg, which is much less than that of what normal solar panels weigh.
These panels provide 960 watts of solar power to the SERVe, energising the Direct Solar Drive and this is backed up by an efficient energy storage system. All of this combine to give the car the power to maintain its cruising speed, which is 30 km/h. Dr P Giridhar Kini, Associate Director of Manipal University said, “We are extremely happy to see how our students have combined their passion for green energy, through the launch of SERVe. Industry-academia collaboration is the key to foster innovation among the student community. Hence, working with corporates like Tata Power Solar helped our students get technical support and knowledge transfer. The team looks forward to working with more companies for future projects and to continue to nurture student-level innovation.” The SERVe is just a prototype for now, but the team is exploring the possibilities of its commercial feasibility.