In a Region Famous for Oranges, Students Use the Sun to Make a Car

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An orange tree in the Antalya region of Turkey, where students used orange-squeezing machinery to build a solar car.

Since Istanbul, Turkey is notorious for its hours-long traffic jams, one might not get terribly excited over the development of another car.

But, this is not just any new car.

The Portacar is a solar car named after the orange (‘portakal’ in Turkish), the symbol of Antalya, and also because the steering system was built from an orange-squeezing machine because the car engineers—all university students-—lacked the money for anything more.

The students come from Turkey’s Akdeniz University Mechanical Engineering Department. Most of the Portacar’s parts are taken from junk metals, electric bicycles, or motorcycle materials. The car’s solar panels are able to recharge its batteries within an hour, and the car has 800 watts of panel power.

The Portacar can reach up to 60 kph and it has a reverse gear unlike most other solar cars. Test drives of the car are being conducted in the corridors of the university, and the car has not been put on display or gone to races outside Antalya for two years.

The team of students is working constantly to upgrade the quality of the engine and to give it more functions.

Project advisor, Hakan Ersoy points out that the car will attract more attention nationally and internationally when they build a higher-powered engine. He emphasizes that, as Antalya is a city blessed with the sun, they cannot accept being in second or third place when it comes to projects using solar energy.