Bilal Ahmad, a 40-year-old mathematics teacher from Srinagar spent 13 long years in his backyard transforming his ideas into reality. It was in 2009 when he thought of designing a car powered by non-conventional energy.
From a distance, the car with doors that can be lifted with black screens looks like something out of the Transformers movie franchise.
Equipped with all the remotely controlled latest gadgetry, the car is fully automatic. With gullwing doors which can bend like our limbs, a bonnet and a dickey that runs on hydraulic technique, it gives the essence of a Mercedez or Nissan to any onlooker.
Nissan Micra 1988 was one of the base models that he converted into an automatic car and then into an electric car. He says, “I liked the design and thought it suitable for this project. But connecting the motor with gear in this car was one of the toughest challenges I went through.” He later supplemented the car with solar energy.
Most of the surface of the car is covered with black-tinged solar panels that can rotate in any direction. Powered by a high kilowatt motor, it can run like any other normal car on the road. There is a space for 5 people, and the car is a dual system, as it is fitted with a high-end chargeable battery as well. With a charging point prominently adjacent to the dickey, it can be charged at any charging station.
According to the innovator, the solar panels automatically rotate in the direction of more sunlight. This feature has tremendous importance particularly, in the places like Kashmir, where there is a problem of cloudy weather during winters. As the normal solar panels are usually 20 per cent to 30 per cent less efficient in such weather. Bilal says, to overcome the problem, he has used monocrystalline solar panels which are known to function efficiently in less visibility or sunshine also.
Bilal claims that his car is equipped with all the latest gadgetry and is presently the cheapest among other cars in the sector presently available in the world. He claims to be able to build this car for Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh, provided he gets a platform to produce this car in lots.
Alternatively, it took him Rs 15 lakh to build this car, as the cost increased due to the continuous replacement of devices in search of efficient ones.
It all started in 2009 when Bilal Ahmad after getting his LPG control safety device patented, thought of developing a future car of the world for the common masses. Bilal’s LPG Control Device turns off the gas in case one forgot to switch off the regulator. The device could be controlled remotely via phone from anywhere. For a young boy during those days, a patent for his project was a much-needed encouragement for his scientific temperament.
Bilal says, initially he had planned to develop a car for people with disabilities that would run on hydrogen gas. But after a few months of basic work, he had to shelve the project for financial implications.
“I always wanted to do something better for society. While moving in local transport, I often thought, How transport is important for humankind in the modern world. It struck me that I should come up with a means of future transport that would be affordable to all. This is how I started this dream project way back in 2009,” says Bilal while alluring towards his solar car in his backyard.
“Lack of resources and lack of exposure are some major challenges one faces in Kashmir. While working on this car, I often faced the challenge of procuring equipment. Often my search for a product in local markets ended in vain. So I had to either switch to second-hand products or book the items online,” says Bilal, while deliberating upon the challenges, He faced in the project. “Once it took me more than a year to procure a sophisticated sensor,” recalls Bilal.
Bilal says he often used to change the devices used in the car to get the desired results. The young and dedicated innovator had to replace a particular device many times. It took almost seven years for the budding innovator to find a desired set of devices fit for the project. He says the project took so many years because he often replaced the devices and gadgets after getting the feedback.
Today, Bilal has become an overnight sensation in the valley. From politicians to prominent personalities like the former chief minister of state, Omar Abdullah and others, this mathematics teacher has won applause from one and all for his innovative endeavour.
As the valley is basking in the success story of its young and determined innovator, Bilal is all set to take his project to next level. He is looking to make further improvements to this car. “Presently, the car is fuelled by a pack of six batteries supplying 72-volt power. I want to use Lithium-ion batteries with very high voltage output, as more power means more speed and efficiency in the engine,” says Bilal.
“Lightyear cars are the future of the automobile industry and my dream is to develop this car at an affordable price for common people,” says a hopeful Bilal.
(Written by Nasir Yousufi; Edited by Yoshita Rao)