The vehicle was built by students and engineers in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment of the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The vehicle was built as part of the university’s programme known as “UJ Energy Movement – African Solar Drive,” which aims to engage with communities and industries on energy innovation.
The Movement is at present conducting an African Solar Drive, a roadshow of more than 4 000 kilometres which promotes international collaboration and energy innovation. The car’s team aims to test the vehicle’s longdistance capabilities and to raise awareness about green technology in a series of lectures along the route.
Nickey Janse van Rensburg, the Movement’s Programme Manager, said the programme was established in 2010 to help promote skills development, energy conservation and sustainability through technology innovation. “We are really excited to be taking the car on its longest trip yet and introducing the programme to our neighbours across Africa,” she said.
The UJ team was welcomed on campus by Prof Errol Tyobeka, Special Adviser to the Poly Rector, who said: “This is truly an African innovation for the world to appreciate and build on further. Solar powered vehicles will eventually find their way in both urban and rural societies.”
He added that the visit by the UJ delegation was the beginning of a transformational journey that will be able to help Namibians to understand the importance of an environmentally sustainable society. “We welcome friends from the University of Johannesburg who are spearheading the African Solar Drive, and all other enthusiasts of solar energy. We look forward to also designing and constructing a solar powered vehicle, made in Namibia, and welcome design engineers and scientists to join our team,” Tyobeka said.
The solar car will travel to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay before making its way to Gaberone in Botswana.