What are examples of solar vehicles in the Philippines?
- De La Salle Solar Car Project – The De La Salle University created the first solar car in the country, and is continuously undergoing development
- Bangkarwayan – The uncanny creation of a university Professor is a solar car that, in theory, can traverse land and water
It might not be apparent, but there has been a gradual increase in the number of active solar panels in the Philippines. In addition to solar power becoming an increasingly popular energy providing alternative in the country, there are also several other solar projects that have come to form.
One of the more well-known projects has to do with making vehicles that are powered by solar energy. Some of these sustainable projects have gained recognition and praise internationally. Here are two of the most well-known solar vehicles that are proudly pinoy.
De La Salle Solar Car Project
Since 2007, the De La Salle University has had 3 solar car projects (with a fourth one coming in 2017). These cars were made by students and faculty from the university’s mechanical engineering department. The first solar car of the university SINAG (a Filipino word which means “sun rays”), introduced in 2007. It was the first of its kind in the Philippines, and represented our country at the World Solar Challenge in Australia in the same year. They landed 12th place out of 40 competitors. The competition pits various solar cars across the world against each other in a grueling 3,000km course which aims to push the vehicles performance to the maximum.
The second project, named Sikat (“sunrise”), was completed in 2009. It was used in promoting the country’s bid to host the World Solar Challenge, but it did not compete. The 3rd project, named Sikat II, was completed in 2013. It competed in that year’s edition of the World Solar Challenge in Australia, where it placed 3rd in the Adventure class. With the success of these solar car projects, the university aims to create a 4th project, which may compete internationally again.
Perhaps one of the most unorthodox vehicles to be ever created, the Bangkarwayan is a solar powered vehicle created and owned by UP Professor Benjamin Mangubat. The car was made out of indigenous materials like rattan and bamboo, and had a dark brown color scheme to make it look more “retro”. It harnesses power from the solar panels installed on the roof. The unusual car was made to be able to navigate on land and water, due to the flotation devices and boat propeller attached to the vehicle. It took six years for Mangubat to complete the vehicle, which has now become of the more popular sights in Manila.
While solar power continues to become more abundant and popular in the country, more companies would look into the possibility of producing solar-powered vehicles like cars, tricycles, buses, and trains in the near future. With more solar-powered vehicles roaming around in the country, it is possible to see a clean future where the use of renewable energy would be the norm. Do you see yourself driving or riding a solar-powered vehicle in the future?