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Video: A Modular Electric Vehicle For Wild Africa
The “Acar” project of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) aims to make electromobility available to the rural population in poor regions with poor infrastructure. Four TUM chairs developed the Acar in close cooperation with partners from Germany and several African countries. The Free State of Bavaria has now awarded the concept the Bavarian State Prize for Electromobility.
Strengthen rural regions independently
When it comes to “electric vehicle”, many people think of expensive electric cars that roll across well-developed streets in large cities in industrialized countries. At TUM, however, the scientists are working on e-cars that are supposed to drive in completely different regions. The Acar was developed to address the mobility problems of the rural population in remote areas with poor infrastructure, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The declared goal of the interdisciplinary research team is to offer a mobility concept that helps to avoid rural exodus to the city and to independently strengthen rural regions.
For this reason, the Acar should be particularly versatile. The vehicle is off-road, can be charged with solar power and is above all modular. With different structures, it can transport both people and loads. With additional modules, the car can also serve as a tool for agriculture and as an energy source for other devices. Due to the modular design, the basic vehicle can be offered at comparatively low prices: Depending on the desired area of application, the additional functional modules required can be purchased or rented.
Adapted to local conditions
It was important to the researchers not only to adapt the possible uses, but also the production of the vehicle to the local conditions. The Acar is to be manufactured on site and thus enable local and independent value creation processes. In order to meet the different challenges of the project, the chairs for vehicle technology, metal forming and foundry, industrial design and strategy and organization work closely together at TUM. The concept of the vehicle was developed together with scientific partners in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. A first prototype of the vehicle was presented in spring, and the various components are currently being tested. Based on the knowledge gained, the interdisciplinary team plans to build a second prototype in spring 2017.The project will be presented to the public at the IAA in September 2017.
The innovative concept has now been awarded the Bavarian State Prize for Electromobility in the Sustainable Product & Mobility Concepts category. Minister of State Ilse Aigner presented the prize, which is awarded every year to companies and organizations that do pioneering work in the field of electromobility. Around 70 applicants from all over Germany and other countries had applied this year.
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