Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, has developed a solar-powered electric 4×4 pick-up vehicle known as “aCar”. The environmentally-friendly vehicle, meant to carry passengers and goods, was inaugurated by the Chancellor, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the 51st congregation of KNUST, Kumasi, on Saturday 8th July 2017.
It was jointly developed by the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Physics of the Colleges of Engineering and Science respectively, from KNUST and the Chair of Automobile Technology, Faculty of Engineering of the Technical University, Munich, (TUM) for the Global Drive Project “aCar Mobility”.
The collaboration which resulted in the development of the aCar prototype was to investigate the mobility needs of Ghana by using different models to explore the possibility of developing a vehicle that is affordable, environment friendly using a high amount of locally available materials to respond to local needs.
This breakthrough comes as the nation searches for ways to build a more robust automobile industry. Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, said the invention was the University’s response to living up to its core mandate of spearheading development of innovative technologies.
The solar-powered vehicle, he said, was still being tested in Ghana over some period to bring it to the required standard. The vehicle was first exhibited at the Global Drive Fair 2016 at TUM last year and has been certified by the German Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority (TUEV).
Prof. Obiri-Danso hinted that the College of Engineering had in recent times invented an open-space fire detector, solar-powered traffic lights and drones to support the nation’s development process. He called for adequate funding to enable the University to come out with cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of the nation.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, Chancellor, lauded the team of researchers who worked on the project and hoped it would encourage the government to be more interested in resourcing the University for more of such innovations.