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How pandemic inspired Odisha farmer to build solar-powered car

Sushil Agarwal built a four-wheeled electric vehicle in his workshop with help from two mechanics and a friends

Sushil Agarwal's solar-powered electric car can run 300 kms.
Sushil Agarwal's solar-powered electric car can run 300 kms. (ANI)

When rest of the people were trying to adjust staying at home during the covid-19 induced lockdown last year, a Mayurbhaj-based farmer thought it was good time work on a electric vehicle that's powered by solar energy. Bored of being at home the whole day, Sushil Agarwal built the car, which is powered by 850 watts motor, 100 Ah/ 54 Volts of battery. It can run 300 km on a fully charged batter, which takes about eight and a half hours to charge.

The idea to build his own car hit him during the boring lockdown days and he started assembling the parts one by one to construct his vehicle.

"I have a workshop at home. During covid-19 lockdown, I began working there to create this. I knew soon the fuel prices will shoot up once the lockdown restrictions will be lifted. So I decided to build my own car which could also keep me occupied," said Sushil Agarwal.

Agarwal began assembling parts one by one, and says used books and Youtube videos for guidance. "All the work on this vehicle including motor winding, electrical fitting and chassis work were done in my workshop with the help of two other mechanics and a friend who advised me on electric works," he said. He finished making the initial frame of the vehicle three months ago. Agarwal explains that he used a slow charging batter, as these have longer shelf live, and can even last for a decade.

Gopal Krishna Das, regional transport officer, Mayurbhanj, was glad to know that Agarwal has tried to design and manufacture a solar-battery-powered vehicle. "Such environmentally-friendly vehicles that do not cause much pollution are the future of the automotive industry," Das said. "Society should encourage this type of invention. It is advisable to improve the design in consultation with Government of India's agencies like ARAI, CIRT to improve the safety, comfort and efficiency of the vehicle so that can it be used on roads," he added.

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