While some people in power are using this time to gain political mileage during the MCO, a Senator in the Dewan Negara has used his time to increase a different kind of mileage. Senator Adrian Lasimbang has constructed a solar-powered buggy from ground up out of spare parts. He completed the prototype within two weeks.
Adrian might not be a household name in the Peninsula, but he has been championing rural communities and renewable energy in Sabah. He is also the founder of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technologies (CREATE). The centre’s mission is to research and develop renewable energy solutions for rural areas.
He told our sister site, Drebar.my, that the idea for the buggy arose from the need to help farmers reduce transportation costs. Currently, the farmers have to rely on conventional vehicles to move their produce. The EV should help reduce the cost of fuel because it does not need petrol to run.
Together with the help of four workers, Adrian set out to build his EV in a workshop next to his residence. He used whatever scrap pieces and spare parts that were lying around the workshop, including the solar panels, to put the buggy together. He only needed to purchase the batteries to store energy.
The frame of the EV is made from steel tubes, whereas its suspension, steering and lower arms were sourced from a Perodua Kenari. Spare tyres have had their positions upgraded from hiding under the boot floor to become this buggy’s front wheels.
Making up the roof are the solar panels, which deposits its energy in four ‘power banks’ that can store a total of 1,000AH. The batteries are placed under the front, uh, bench. Moving the buggy is a wind turbine DC motor that generates 4kW (5.4hp).
Adrian admits that the buggy’s performance isn’t great, so don’t you start comparing this to the Porsche Taycan or even the Nissan Leaf. He said that a more potent electric motor could give the EV more power but the cost to buy one is prohibitive.
Adrian has test-driven the prototype as far as 400 metres after charging the EV under the sun for three hours. He said that the buggy’s top speed is more than 25kph.
Like all good electric vehicles, this buggy can also use its stored energy to supply houses with electricity. It is a blessing to having a reliable backup power source on standby as under-developed areas do not have a stable supply of electricity.
Adrian would like the public to know more about the benefits of having an environmentally-friendly vehicle. He wishes to see more electric cars plying out roads in the future and thinks it is time EV gains more awareness.