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Universidad EAFIT
Carrera 49 # 7 sur -50 Medellín Antioquia Colombia
Carrera 12 # 96-23, oficina 304 Bogotá Cundinamarca Colombia
(57)(4) 2619500

Agencia de Noticias / Mayo 2013 Research / Primavera, Colombian’s first solar-powered vehicle

Primavera, Colombian’s first solar-powered vehicle

The Primavera Project is another example of why Medellin was appointed the most innovative city in the world, a place where solutions are envisioned to improve living conditions.

• An interdisciplinary team from Universidad EAFIT is fabricating, with in-house engineering and the support of EPM, the first solar-powered vehicle in the country; a commitment to sustainable mobility.

• In October, the team will participate, along with the best universities from around the world, in the World Solar Challenge, a race covering over 3000 kilometers through the Australian desert.

EAFIT’s engineering building and workshops have become a meeting place for enthusiasm and ingeniousness. It is here where most of its engineering programs gather together to build Primavera (Spanish word for spring), the first Colombian solar-powered race vehicle, named after the well-known weather of Medellín. 

This innovation, competing in the 3000 kilometers of the World Solar Challenge in Australia, is the result of an initiative that not only motivates those who build and shape each part of the vehicle, but also the University and EPM (a public utilities company that provides the city with the services of electricity, natural gas and water among others), who have sponsored a project aligned with the Program for sustainable mobility and efficient energy technologies, lead by the local government.

“It is all about generating, storing, and efficiently using energy in its cleanest form: solar energy. We are sure that this experience is the first step, in a country that believes in its future, to keep gathering efforts in order to reach our goal and give the world a creation that reflects the capacities of the Colombian people,” said Juan Esteban Calle Restrepo, EPM CEO.

The Primavera Project is another example of why Medellin was appointed the most innovative city in the world, a place where solutions are envisioned to improve living conditions, in this case, searching for alternative energy sources in favor of a planet that eagerly claims for such developments.

Interdisciplinary work is the main feature of the group that gave life to Primavera. More than 40 students involved in the project, led by professors from EAFIT`s School of Engineering and the Division of Professional Research and Energy Businesses Development at EPM, have contributed to the design, production, processes, and mechanics, and electronics; an innovation product from Medellin to the world.

“Knowledge integration, expertise and ideas. These three words summarize EAFIT and EPM’s collaborative task. A joint endeavor, where the experience gained and results obtained in the short-term, are considered the best reward for those who have contributed in the prospering of the Primavera Project,” expressed Juan Luis Mejía Arango, EAFIT´s Rector.

The Race

The vehicle will be tested during the 12th edition of the World Solar Challenge, a 3000-kilometer race that crosses Australia form north to south, between the cities of Darwin and Adelaide.

The longest solar-powered car race in the world was inspired by Hans Tholstrup’s adventure, a Danish man who, in 1984, crossed the Australian continent in 20 days using a solar vehicle he designed by himself. In 1987, the first race was made official and it is in 2013 that the first Colombian vehicle will be participating.

Universities such as Stanford and Michigan from the United States, Cambridge from England, TU Delft from the Netherlands and Tokai from Japan are among the 40 teams taking part in the race.

Jorge Barrera Velasquez, technical coordinator of the project and who formerly took part of the 1999 MIT racing team, said that “the luckiest participants will finish the race in five or six days, if they even make it, given that finishing the race is, in itself, an accomplishment that involves resistance, strategy, and logistics”.

Precisely, the high desert temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night make it really difficult to finish the race. Besides, the vehicle has to deal with regular traffic, be aware of animals on the road, and look out for the occasional Willy Willy, a small Australian tornado.

Nevertheless, EAFIT’s team is up for the challenge and carefully pays attention to each detail, since the car encompasses highly competitive standard components and in-house technologically designed parts.

Barrera Velasquez stresses, in addition to the advances in innovation and the knowledge generated around the project, participant students’ passion for the project, who are continuously inquiring him what comes after the race.

“This is a technological development project that makes part of the EPM Group Science, Technology, and Innovation strategy, which is focused on high tech developments for energy and clean and sustainable mobility in order to generate a high impact in the company and the region’s competitiveness,” stated Sergio Adolfo Montoya Mejia, sub-director for R&D on Energy Businesses.

The mentality change is one of the most significant added values of the process: finding a way to overcome obstacles is the only possible alternative and innovation is always an option. Hence, the University and EPM are considering the continuity of the project, either for participating in other races or generating a group for researchers to be. Private companies are welcome to join this initiative. ​​

Contact information
Gilberto Osorio Gómez
Professor in the School of Engineering
Telephone: 574 2619500 Ext. 9086

Ricardo Mejía Gutiérrez
Professor in the School of Engineering
Telephone: 574 2619500 Ext. 9712

Jorge Barrera Velásquez
EAFIT- EPM Solar Car Team
Telephone: 57 320 6771487

Última modificación: 08/09/2015 10:11