Barefoot science students make tricycle using solar energy

The Da Nang Poly-technique University was abuzz with admiration for three “barefoot science” students who designed and built a tricycle using solar energy.

The group of students  and teacher stand by the new vehicle (Photo; SGGP)

Ta Ngoc Thien Binh, Huynh Kim Trang and Pham Nguyen Son of the Mechanic Department of the university, invested their own money to research and develop the new product because they felt sorry for tricycle drivers, who had to work in the scorching sun in central Vietnam.

The three barefoot science students said the biggest difficulty getting a hold of the design document. They journeyed to Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong delta province of Can Tho to learn more about the machine.

Their efforts paid off after two months, when they finished the vehicle model with the zealous assistance of teacher Duong Viet Dung. They then had to overcome financial barriers. Upon hearing the group’s story, teachers, the Mechanic department and their families decided to help the ambitious students to make their dream come true.

The newly invented vehicle ran on June 15. The 350-kilogram tricycle, named Solar Car C4, has two seats; and is capable of achieving a maximum speed of 30 kilometers an hour. Its electrical charge lasts for 30 kilometers, but most importantly, it can utilize gas when it is out of electricity or if it is cloudy.

Its design is small, making it suitable for tourist service in the central city of Da Nang, which intends to become an environmentally friendly city.  It is also perfect for the UNESCO-recognized natural heritage site of Hoi An town, which ban vehicles with engines, said Thien Binh.

The Solar Car C4 won second prize at the competition launched in 2009 by the Communist Youth Union and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The barefoot science students have entered their product to the “Student conduct scientific research” contest and the Competition for Creativeness of adolescents & children nationwide 2010.

The cost of Solar Car C4 is over VND80 million. The group expects a motor company to invest in it and improve aspects of its technical design to produce a fleet of solar tricycles in Da Nang.

By Nguyen Hung - Translated by Nha Tran

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