Segun Oyeyiola has converted an old Volkswagen Beetle and into a fully renewable off-road vehicle.
Far from the world renowned Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, Segun Oyeyiola, a Nigerian college student has single handedly managed to make a renewable car of his own – albeit on a much smaller scale.
Segun is an engineering senior at Nigeria’s Obagemi Awolowo University and over the course of a year, he has retrofitted a VW Beetle into a wind and solar-powered car.
The car cost under $6,000 and friends and family donated spare parts to the project.
Talking about his motivation for the project, in an email to Co.Exist he writes:
“I wanted to reduce carbon dioxide emission[s] going to our atmosphere that lead to climate change or global warming which has become a new reality, with deleterious effect: seasonal cycles are disrupted, as are ecosystems; and agriculture, water needs and supply, and food production are all adversely affected.”
“Therefore, I came up of building a car that will use both winds and solar energy for its movement. This was my personal project because of the problem I’m planning to solve.”
Chairmsn of McMaster University’s engineering physics department and faculty advisor to the school’s solar car team, Dr John Preston, claims this is the first of its kind and he’s never seen anything like Oyeyiola’s contraption. The car also comes with a GPS app that monitors car and battery health.
“If you could find a way to use both wind and solar in the same vehicle, that would be a marvelous thing. Using wind and solar means you wouldn’t have to drive just during daylight hours. If he has figured a way to do it, that would be quite remarkable.”
Oyeyiola has not only installed a huge solar panel on the top of the Beetle, but he has also grafted a wind turbine under the hood.
As Preston explains, air flows into the grill as the car is moving. This turns the turbine’s rotors and charges the battery in the back of the car. Oyeyiola has also engineered an innovative suspension system that is remarkably strong in order to deal with the weight of the battery.
The battery maybe slow to charge (4-5 hours) but Oyeyiola says he’s working on it. He says his biggest challenge came from finding the right materials to use, and people constantly telling him that he was wasting his time.
Those people haven’t stopped Oyeyiola, who intends on creating solar and wind-powered cars that take advantage of the sunny Nigerian weather. When asked what he is going to after his last finals exam, Oyeyiola answered, “Keep improving on it, until it becomes Nigeria’s future car.”