Project SINAG : The First Philippine Solar-Powered Car

Press Release

RP’s first solar car aces pre-race test

(The Philippine Inquirer, Last updated 11:33pm, 10/19/2007)

SINAG first test run on the race track of Hidden Valley Motor Sports Complex on a Tuesday afternoonDARWIN, Australia -- The Philippines’ first solar-powered car, Sinag, hurdled Friday the “scrutineering” or qualifying test conducted by the 20th World Solar Challenge (WSC) organizing committee.

Sinag’s qualification now paves the way for the Philippines’ official participation in the 3,000-kilometer solar race from Darwin to Adelaide on October 21-28.

During the test, the solar car underwent thorough mechanical and electrical checks. Most parts of the car were measured and weighed to make sure it conformed to the WSC’s rules and regulations. The car’s batteries were inspected, properly labelled and secured to prevent tampering and unauthorized usage.

Weighing 295 kilos, Sinag instantly became the day’s star with WSC officials expressing amazement at the car’s stability and safety compliance.

“The Philippines’ entry really did great today!” said Jacqui Williams of the WSC Committee.

The committee told members of the all-Filipino team that the car has “perfected the scrutineering.” This means that Sinag has passed all the requirements, and there is no need for the car to undergo a second round of scrutineering.

“By passing the scrutineering today, we can now prepare and focus our efforts on the race,” overall technical team leader Rene Fernandez said.

During the past two days, some entries from other countries were advised to come back until they have complied with all the requirements set by the race committee.

Other participants from other countries could not resist dropping by Garage No. 4 of the Hidden Valley Motor Sports Complex which houses the Filipino solar car.

“Many of them said our car is really sturdy and stable,” says Robert Obiles, Overall Student Leader of Team Sinag.

“They found our triple shock absorber rear suspension very unique,” adds Mico Villena, the team’s mechanical student leader.

Sinag’s triple shock absorber rear suspension allows reduced fishtailing and a smoother, more stable ride. Solar cars from other teams only feature dual suspension, making the Philippine entry the only solar car with this unique suspension advantage.

In spite of the praise and encouragement, Team Sinag is cautiously optimistic of its chances in the race.

“This is our first time to join the WSC, after all. In completing the car and getting a perfect score in scrutineering, we feel we have already triumphed in our goals. If we finish or win the race, that’s a big bonus. The eight months spent preparing for this was well worth it, said Obiles.”

The Sinag solar car was designed and built by teachers and students from the Mechanical Engineering and the Electronics and Communications Engineering Departments of De La Salle University -- Manila.

The project was supported by Ford Group Philippines, Motolite, Philippine Airlines, San Miguel Corp., Shell, SunPower, U-Freight, and Ventus. It was also supported by Aurora, Cabrera Lavadia and Associates, JWT, CreAsia, Merritt Partners, Tuason Racing School, Gochermann Solar Technology, and Stratworks.

“We’re a step closer to the race! This is a big success for the Philippine Team as we proved to the world that we have the capacity and knowledge in developing renewable sources of energy such as solar power,” said Prince Ang, logistic head of the team.

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