A project curated by a team of Bahraini students has captured the attention of many for its innovation and creativity.
A four-seater electric solar-powered car designed by the third-year mechanical engineering students at the Bahrain Polytechnic is all the more special as it falls in line with the kingdom’s ambitious net zero goals. The extraordinary project in the country showcases not only the exceptional skills and ingenuity of these students, but also serves as a testament to the institution’s unwavering commitment to experiential learning and academic excellence.
In an exclusive interview with Bahrain This Week, the team – six male and two female students along with their two teachers – shared their journey through the project.
“The project is the outcome of the hard work and dedication of this brilliant group of students; I am proud of them,” said the team supervisor, Dr Ahmed Abdulrahman.
“I’m very proud of them. I’ve been with them since the beginning, so I have seen how hard they were working. It was really encouraging to see how they were keen to finish this project in the best way possible.”
Echoing his views, course director Syed Asad Imam also endorsed that the students were a motivated lot.
“We have a set of fantastic, brilliant, hardworking, and motivated students who used to stay with us until even late at night from morning; they were working continuously every day, and the outcome of this hard work is what we see here,” he said.
The car is equipped with solar panels on its surface, allowing it to capture and convert sunlight into clean, renewable energy, which enables fast charging.
“In terms of cost-effectiveness, the security club cars that we see around us cost around $10,000 (around BD3,000),” said Isa Darwish, one of the students.
“In terms of our car, most of the equipment that’s implemented in the car is handmade by students. The only thing that is purchased from outside is the solid axle and motor.”
The car, which can reach a speed of up to 30 km/h, is designed to be safe, sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. To achieve this, they used plastic PVC pipes in the structure’s design.
“We selected plastic PVC in particular because it’s widely available in the market and it is a smart choice as it is extremely cost-effective in comparison to other materials such as metals, steel, and so on,” pointed out Manal Kamal, one of the female students on the team. “It’s lightweight, which reduces the need for extra power.”
During the test drive of the car, both Polytechnic chief executive Professor Kieran Okohan and Engineering College Dean Dr. Christina Georgantopoulou expressed their utmost admiration for the car’s performance.
“Bahrain Polytechnic takes great pride in announcing the solar-powered electric car,” said Prof Okohan, who said it will be officially adopted for internal use within the Polytechnic campus.
“This presents an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to embrace sustainable transportation options at a lower cost,” he added.
The officials emphasized that the successful achievement of the solar-powered electric car project stands as a testament to the institution’s dedication to experiential learning and academic excellence.
“I think this (Bahrain Polytechnic) is one of the best universities, not just in Bahrain but in the world,” noted Isa.
“I mean the style of teaching, making sure that students are up to the level, which I believe is the future style. No more written assessments: more projects, learning, and more activities – that’s where learning is.”