Al Akhawayn's Hybrid Car Prototype Unveiled

02.23.2012

Ifrane, February 23, 2012 – After only two days of manufacturing and assembly, Al Akhawayn University finally unveiled on Monday, February 21, 2012, its first domestically manufactured hybrid car.

Initiated by the Maintenance Department at the University, the hybrid car prototype is reportedly the first in Morocco which utilizes both solar and kinetic energy. The car is equipped with solar panels that harness the energy from the sun and induce movement. The rotation of the wheels on the ground transforms solar energy into kinetic energy, which also powers the car.

“Our long-term objective is to produce energy-efficient, low-cost hybrid vehicles that will commute across campus premises, providing personnel transportation as well as running special errands,” said Hatim Naitlho, Director of Grounds and Maintenance and Coordinator of the Hybrid Car project at Al Akhawayn University.

Currently, the car prototype is powered at only 3.5 kW. Future vehicles will see their power increased up to 15 kW.

The high levels of solar energy that Ifrane produces thanks to its high-altitude location have been a major motivator for the Maintenance team to consider alternative and renewable energy sources for campus transportation. Furthermore, Al Akhawayn University is home to the first solar energy site in Africa to generate electricity through photovoltaics.

The Maintenance team previously worked on similar projects in cooperation with Al Akhawayn faculty. Naitlho declared, “The availability of a powerful energy source, the sun, requires that we benefit from it using our in-house expertise.”

Most parts of the hybrid car prototype were manufactured at the University. Several constituencies of the Grounds and Maintenance Department took part in the design and production of the chassis, the body, the wire system, and the solar panels.

Driss Wahid, welder at Al Akhawayn and member of the project team, expressed his contentment in the whole operation. “Team building, and time and resource management were key elements for the project to be successful,” he said.

Committed to contribute to local and national development at the environmental level, Al Akhawayn University encourages initiatives liable to make campus, and beyond, greener.

President Ouaouicha, who took the car for a test spin around campus on Monday, elatedly said “Innovation is key to the success of the members of our community and that of the institution as a whole. We should all put in a little bit of effort to think outside the box and work for a better, sustainable future.”

The hybrid car prototype will be available to Al Akhawayn students for hands-on experiments and study. It is expected that the first Al Akhawayn hybrid cars will take to the streets of Ifrane in summer 2012.