Sushil Reddy, an alumnus from the Energy Science Department of IIT Bombay, set out for a unique journey on May 8 this year – to spread awareness about solar energy and its uses in India. And his ride for the trip is as amazing as the motivation behind it.
Sushil has customised a bicycle, converting it into a solar electric bike called the Sunpedal. He plans to visit five states, covering a distance of 7,000 km in 70 days.
Two additional wheels are attached at the rear end of the bike, with a trailer placed on top.
Four solar panels are attached to the trailer, which supply a power of 240 Watts to a 48 Volt lithium-ion battery used to run a rear hub motor. This motor assists in riding the bike with ease.
Starting from Mumbai, he has crossed places like Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Somnath, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Mt. Abu, and Jodhpur among others.
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Sushil is also conducting conferences, seminars, meetings, etc. with schools, universities, and organizations in every city.
He is using the solar bicycle as an example to show the application and potential of solar energy.
Other than the awareness programmes, funds raised during the ride will be used to install solar panels in a rural school located in Jatwara, Rajasthan, which is run by an NGO named Hockey Village India.
Solar power in the village will help kids study without being disturbed by frequent power cuts.
The bike runs at an average speed of 20 km/hr on plains. Sushil rides for about 150 km every day. The bike is sponsored by Hulikkal Electro India Pvt. Ltd., and there are several other sponsors to support his overall journey. He is also accompanied by a support crew to help with the logistics. The crew includes Rajendra Bhaskar, a final year IIT Bombay student.
You can read an ebook about SunPedal Ride here.