THE Philippine Solar Car Challenge Society Inc. (PSCCSI) on Monday launched the Sikat II solar-powered car that will compete in the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia from October 16 to 23 this year.
A test run of the Sikat II designed by engineering students of De La Salle University was conducted at the North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) to demonstrate the car’s readiness to compete in this year’s solar challenge.
The test run of Sikat II came as Jan H. Kierulf, director for research and development of Victory Liner, a Luzon based bus company, stressed during the launch of “Victory Against Climate Change” program in Quezon City that a partnership initiative between the bus company and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) found the necessity for lawmakers to pass a measure that will “legalize” electric-powered vehicles, or e-vehicles, and allow the Land Transportation Office to set-up specifications and establish safety standards for such type of vehicles.
The “Victory Against Climate Change” program was highlighted by the signing of a memorandum of understanding that formalizes the partnership between Victory Liner-CCC to promote e-vehicles.
Ramon Agustines, PSCCSI president, said in a press conference the country is challenged by the fact that it does not have the courage to invest in solar-power technologies.
“And though the Sikat II, we, at the society, want to show that solar-power technology is already available and is ready to be used for different applications,” Agustines said.
Federico Lopez, PSCCSI chairman and chief executive, said the Sikat II is a testament to Filipino ingenuity, talent and technological capability in tapping clean and natural sources of energy such as solar power.
Like its predecessors—Sinag and Sikat I—Lopez said Sikat II is beaming with promise as it not only shows the world what solar energy can do, but what Filipinos can do too.
“We are very optimistic that Sikat II will shine in the World Solar Challenge,” Lopez said.
Jack Catalan, Sikat II team leader, said they are honored to represent the country and that they are proud to have been able to design and create a solar car within seven months.
“Our target for this year’s competition is to finish the race and beat the 12th place performance of Sinag in 2007,” he said. ?Sikat II boasts many improvements to its design and mechanical features. It sports a sleek and aerodynamic body made of lightweight carbon fiber-honeycomb composite. Faster than its predecessors, Sikat II can run at top speed of 110-kilometers-per-hour with its 2-kilowatt motor and weighs less than 180 kilograms, which is 10-kilogram lighter than Sikat I and 110 kilogram lighter than Sinag.
When running on its 4,000 watt-hour Lithium-ion battery and solar array power at a speed of 85 kilometers per hour, Sikat II can travel more than 800 kilometers.
Sikat is fueled by solar energy harvested and converted into electricity by photovoltaic cells. Sikat II is equipped with solar cells from Sunpower Philippines, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells in the world. These solar cells are proudly Philippine-made and are manufactured by Sunpower in their Batangas and Laguna plants.
Sikat II is set to race with 20 other countries in the 3,000-kilometer World Solar Challenge that runs from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia. It will be the second time that the Philippines will be competing in the international challenge. In 2007 Sinag delivered a remarkable debut performance by finishing 12th place among 40 other participants from around the world.
(With report filed by Jonathan Mayuga)
By Paul Anthony A. Isla
August 09, 2011