All it takes is a beautiful mind to change the face of technology. A mathematician by profession, Bilal Ahmad from the Srinagar Valley, Kashmir, has proved again that nothing is unachievable. You don’t need to have crores of high-profile funding and a high-end lab facility to invent something new.
Bilal turned a Maruti 800 into a fully-functional and luxurious solar car. He often drives the car proudly cruising around the town.
He says that he was always intrigued by the idea of making an affordable luxury car that competes with BMWs and Mercedes. Moreover, he wanted to make the car to be sustainable and feature-rich that everyone could afford. The fully-functional solar car checks all the boxes he has planned for it.
He plans to open up a company for mass-producing his solar car for everyone. He plans to name his solar car company YMC. He has given the name to the solar car based on the name of his two kids.
Some of the brilliant features of the solar car:
- Fully-automatic solar car
- Gull-wing or falcon wing design doors
- Effective solar charging even in low sunlight
Who is Bilal Ahmad?
Bilal Ahmad, a mathematician by profession is an innovator at NIT, Srinagar’s branch for innovation incubation and entrepreneurship development. He is getting a lot of limelight on social media after a newspaper journalist took his interview. Bilal holds a civil engineering degree, yet his interest lies in a more specialized field.
Bilal is teaching maths for over 14 years, working with various schools and colleges. In fact, he invented an app and device in 2009 that could switch off LPG cylinders remotely. His interests from the very start were towards making an impact in more technical areas.
What Led Him To Make A Solar Car?
He belongs to Sanat Nagar locality in Srinagar valley and would often drive around the area in his solar car for two years now. However, he was not into making a solar car for everyone from the beginning. He initially wanted a car specially designed for the disabled but had to give up on his concept as he did not have enough money for the project. Moreover, there was no help from the government or any other body at the time as well. He told the newspaper “Rising Kashmir”, in the interview that
“Government didn’t help me at that time. I was not financially sound so I couldn’t take the cost of the innovation.”
Bilal was greatly influenced by the cars produced after 1950 and how the technical changes were brought into those cars. He closely followed the engineer behind the DMC’s gull-winged car DeLorean, James DeLorean. His current design is remarkably similar and is greatly influenced by 1983 DeLorean. He mentioned in his interview how he saw the gap between the wealthy and common people to get hands-on luxurious cars. He said,
“Cars like Mercedes, Ferrari, BMW are just a dream for a common person. Only a few people are able to afford it while it remains a dream for others to drive such cars and roam in it. I thought of something to give a luxurious feel to the people as well.”
He first thought of turning the car towards more sustainable energy when he saw the rising fuel prices across the globe. He decided to make this car solar-powered but more affordable and luxurious at the same time. It took him about 11 years to complete the project, and now the car is not a prototype but a fully-functional solar car.
What is so special about this Solar Car?
Bilal was sure of making the car affordable and sustainable that everyone can afford. Therefore, he started watching videos of car modification and implemented the idea from those skills. He wanted his creation to have the best features and make it fully automatic. Moreover, various challenges consistently became a challenge for his project.
He rose above all those hurdles and has done this all without getting any external funding to meet the expenses. He took help from various experts in the field to learn about solar panels and automobiles. But it is still hard to believe that he was able to create this solar car by spending less than $19,000 only.
The demographics of Kashmir, where Bilal lives are often gloomy and receive quite low sunlight in winters. Furthermore, being a solar car, he was falling behind with the efficiency of getting enough power from the solar panels. He made numerous trips to soar panel manufacturers to overcome the low-efficiency solar panels. He even went to Chennai to get more knowledge of how he can use the solar panel effectively in his solar car.
He said that the surface of the car has less space as needed for enough solar panels for his project. This is where the DeLorean comes in, as he decided to turn the doors of his car into gull-wing style like the DMC car. Gull-wing doors were a common sight in the cars made around 1950. However, the gull-wing or falcon-wing style doors were often kept to the sports car.
The idea helped Bilal to get more surfaces to put the solar panels and get ample sunlight when they are open.
Specification of the Solar Car
The solar sports car designed by Bilal Ahmad is designed to fit 4 adults comfortably inside its cabin. However, the traditional style cars have seating for two adults in their cabin. The solar panels on the car are of the monocrystalline type which allows it to function more efficiently even in lesser space.
The falcon-style doors help get more sunlight and is remotely operatable within the range of 1.5 kilometers. The remote designed for the solar panels can change the direction of the panels with the changing sun’s directions throughout the day.
Bilal has used a lead battery inside the car as he said that the lithium battery would require him to put another electric circuit for protection. However, he beams with joy for how he has finally realized his dream to make an eco-friendly, fully-automatic solar car himself. He wants to change the perception of his local fellow people to put more tech-savvy attractive things instead of average-looking electric vehicles.
Bilal Ahmad is an example of blooming hope that even if there is no significant help or environment to invent something extraordinary. He did something which is not conventional and needed a tremendous effort to turn into a reality. Moreover, he did finish making this solar car without any financial help from anyone. He wants to launch his company YMC and create promising job opportunities for the youth of Kashmir.
Bilal proudly drives his solar car and always receives praises from onlookers. But he mentions how difficult it was for him to come this far with the project as the necessary resources and techniques are not available easily. There is so much that can be done on the part of the government to aid such budding talents. We are in awe of the story and dedication of Bilal for his dream car. However, we are still waiting to know more technical details about his car.