Monday, January 25, 2010

'Sikat' goes to Mindanao

Filipinos in Davao City view Sikat, a car developed by De La Salle university, which runs on solar power is currently on a road show in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Geo Solmerano)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / January 25, 2010) – A car developed by a Filipino university which runs on solar power is currently on a road show in the southern Philippines.

Called ‘Sikat,’ the car was built by the De La Salle University and is now in Davao City and would be here up to Friday before proceeding to Iligan City at the end of this month.

The car’s tour in Mindanao and other areas in the Philippines is in preparation to the 2011’s World Solar Challenge.

Road show organizers said the three-wheeled Sikat is designed as a single-seater race car whose power comes from solar radiation and converted to electricity via solar cells and stored using lithium iron phosphate batteries. Almost all mechanical parts are made by the De La Salle team.

The car’s overall dimensions are 4450mm x 1720mm x 1110 mm and is significantly lighter, smaller, and more aerodynamic than the first solar car, ‘Sinag.’ The upper shell is made of fiber glass lattice framework. The lower hull is formed using carbon fiber skin.

It is a front wheel drive using in-wheel motor, which is a direct transmission, in-wheel CSIRO Surface-Type brushless permanent magnet motor rated at 1.8kW with 97% efficiency controlled via a Tritium motor driver.

Sikat has a hydraulic brake system and regenerative braking for energy recovery and has a cable-type hand brake attached to the front wheel. The solar array consists of 386 SunPower A300 C65 Silicon cells with a total area of 6 square meters. Its cells are manufactured by SunPower Philippines, Ltd. And solar cells have an efficiency rating of 21%.

It alsi uses Lithium Iron Phosphate - 598 cells connected in 46s13p layout – with 3.2 V, 3.3 Ah on each cell and has a total weight of 49 kilos.

From direct solar power supply, through solar panels only, Sikat is expected to run at about 80 kph. If battery charged is utilized, the car can run up to 110 kph for a limited amount of time. Running from battery power alone and cruising at 80 kph on a flat road, and it has a range of 400 km. However if the run includes daylight, the range can extend up to 933 km. (Geo Solmerano)

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