High school student designs solar car

Tim Noonan, 7News Adelaide

A high school student from Adelaide’s eastern suburbs has turned his talents to manufacturing cars – designing a solar powered vehicle for expecting mothers in Zimbabwe.

Vaibhav Sekhar and his mentor Dr Peter Pudney were contacted by a non-government organisation in Zimbabwe asking if they could help build them a car to help transport pregnant women to hospital.

The high rate of home births in impoverished villages is an unnecessary health hazard.

“Some pregnant patients needed to walk almost 10 kilometres to a health facility on dirt roads, probably worse than the ones which we have got here,” Vaibhav said.

The Year 11 Rostrevor College student became driven to find a solution.

“This is the best opportunity for me to demonstrate my skills and research more about renewable energy,” he said.

With the help of his mentor from UniSA, he conceived a low-maintenance, solar powered three-seater vehicle suitable for tough terrain.

Vaibhav's design for a solar car.

An electric car named Trev was also used to help calculate how much energy they would need to generate.

And Vaibhav’s work is appreciated at school too.

“I got an ‘A’ for my research project, which I was quite happy about,” he said.

The first car will be completed by the end of the year.