Solar Electric Cars And A Pleasant Weekend Visit To ITU (Istanbul Technical University)

Everyone is curious about the future of automobiles and the transportation vehicles. There’s always a discussion about it. The design cars of the future are exhibited in fairs or in the media and they are shared with those who are curious.​

You can look at the pictures and the video (Thanks to Catherine Hostert for the video) in the following links below to have an idea about the cars of the future:

The pictures:

In my previous article, I wrote that people were working on alternatives for fossil fuels, that LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas) were used as fuel besides gasoline, and that ethanol use was very common for cars in countries like Brazil. I wrote about the trend that the cars will follow in my article, which you can find in

The fossil fuel cars of today, hybrid cars, electric cars and solar electric cars. I think solar electric cars will be the final point and this technology will be constantly improved. I follow the latest developments about solar electric cars from many sources, but I especially recommend the following website:

Solar electric cars newly became a sector. Already, there are lots of things to do about this topic. There will be lots of development regarding matters like the battery system, development of solar cells, electric circuits, motor, material etc. This development will not be confined to land vehicles, but it will also take place for air and sea vehicles. In the end, it will be possible to see vehicles that benefit the most from the sun (which won’t need any electric charge in sunny areas), that go beyond the ranges of fossil fuels cars with its battery system and that have zero carbon emission. If you ask me how such a fast development will happen in every field, I will tell you that we should work on R&D studies and that universities have a greater importance at this stage than the private sector or R&D establishments.

About 45 days ago, the captain of the Solar Energy Team of ITU (Istanbul Technical University), Berker Beyazıt, visited me in my office. I’m not exactly sure how he found me, but as a result of this meeting that happened only by a simple email, we laid the foundations of a good cooperation. Actually, he visited me for a sponsorship to a race they were going to attend to in Australia ( I told him that we were operating in the CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) field, that the solar electric cars went into the photovoltaic field and that I couldn’t attend to it because of this. I added: My company and I, we respect solar energy technologies and we support those who want to do something in this field wholeheartedly. I also told him that although I can’t promise for the sponsorship (We’ll have a meeting again in January, 2013), I will spiritually support them. After this meeting, he invited us over to ITU for a test drive. I willingly accepted it and told him that I would come and visit them as soon as I gathered a group that would be able to help them.

After postponing it for a several times, finally we were able to set a date and went to the Maslak Campus of ITU on October 6, on a sunny Saturday morning at around 10. In our group I call the “Solar Team”, there was the former Director of Greenpeace (he left his position in late August) who now is the Turkish Director of yet another important NGO,, since September, the Chief Editor of the magazine EkoIQ which became an important voice of ecology and which is interested in sustainability and which everyone follows, Barış Doğru, one of the oldest people in the solar energy sector who created the biggest network in this sector, aka Solar Father, Ateş Uğurel and his partner in the iRES company …, Serkan Koç, who is to me one of the best documentarists in Turkey and who is a journalist at the same time and İpek Uralcan, our Communication Director. At the Ayazağa entrance of ITU, Berker Beyazıt, the captain of the ITU Solar Car Team, greeted us.

They greeted us as a crowded team in the ITU Maslak Campus. The bright students of ITU all made presentations in their own fields. As someone who tells all the time to be supportive for the youth and to lead their way, I would like to share their names with you:


Berker Bayazıt Electrical Engineer Team Captain – Battery and Solar Cell Systems Design
Fatih Can Mechanical Engineer – Thermo Fluids Graduate Aerodynamic Shell Design
Sinan Yıldız Telecommunication Engineer Head of the Electrical Group – Telemetry and Communication Systems Design
Türker Unutmaz Electronic Engineer Embedded System Design
Mehmet Hasanzade Telecommunication Engineer Embedded System Design
Alaattin Ersivri Electrical Engineer Drive System Design
Aykut Özgün Önol Control Engineer Energy Optimization – Drive Simulator and Strategy
Arif İçke Control Engineer Energy Optimization – Drive Simulator and Strategy
Taner Metin Control Engineer Energy Optimization – Drive Simulator and Strategy
Mustafa Topçu Mechanical Engineer Head of the Mechanical Group – Power Unit Design and Resistance Analysis
Mehmet Akif Kütük Mechanical Engineer Power Unit Design and Steering System
Büşra Uğurlu Mechanical Engineer Power Unit Design and Brake System
Taygun Uzunlar Material Engineering Structural Design – Production
Yunus Emre Boya Material Engineering Structural Design – Production
Sercan Dağlı Material Engineering Structural Design – Production
Onur Aydın Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Public Relations and Financial Planning

They then introduced us to their demo program. Frankly speaking, I was never good with car racing games. I voluntarily tried their demos, but I can’t say that I was very successful (I told the people in the team, there’s a problem in the speed feeling of the program). After a few trials, we accepted the situation and went to the real drive.

Later on, we went to the parking lot from the place designated for them in the Maslak Campus where they made us the presentations. The place where the parking lot was was really an interesting place. On one side, there was the ITU Stadium in which the ITU American Football Team was exercising while we were doing the test drive (No, you didn’t hear me wrong, recently American Football became very popular in the Turkish universities), and on the other side the students coming out of the elementary school of ITU and their parents.

In this interesting place, I again volunteered to do the first test drive. Later on, a lot of people in our group joined this trial. For it to be more comfortable for us, we opened the top of the car (without the outer shell where the photovoltaic cells are) and drove it that way. Here’s that moment:



During the years I was studying in Canada, I became interested in go-kart. We would get together with our friends and would go to have a go-kart race. Using this car was actually similar to using a go-kart in principle. Your right foot is for the gas pedal and your left foot is for the brake pedal. It’s the same setup. ARIBA 5, which is very quiet, can go up to 80 km/hr.
While the other test drives were taking place, an 8-9 year old boy from the elementary school of ITU and his mother came over to us. The following dialogue took place:

The Mother: What is this?
Serhan: It’s a solar electric car. We’re now doing its test drive.
The Boy: Mom, is this a car?
The Mother: Yes dear, it’s a car.
Serhan (to the boy): You grow up, get into university, study engineering and be a part of this Solar Energy Team.
The Mother: Those kids in ITU design this?
Serhan: Yes. As you see, there are very bright kids in Turkey. Your son can be one of them.
The Mother: Hopefully. If it’s meant to be.
Serhan: Have a good day, you’re always welcome (Of course, I embraced the group and saw myself as a part of the Solar Energy Team and these words escaped from my lips).
The mother: You too.

All in all, after a very pleasant test drive, we took a picture by the car to eternalize this moment and ended the day. Here’s a picture of that moment:



We left ITU after sharing our mutual good wishes. The common thought of our group was that the excitement and the positive energy of the youth in this event whose video you can find below (Thanks to Serkan Koç) affected us all positively. Of course, a new reason for us to be optimistic came up. We left the Maslak Campus filled with hope. We all have lots of things to do in the solar energy sector!

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