“Infinite range for golf cars through Smart & Green sustainable power”
During the Bamboo Solar Car Summer Camp 2019 in Gran Canaria the idea of the Solar Golf Car as well as the first prototype were born. The Solar Golf Car is a student project in collaboration with a local golf course on Gran Canaria, involving five students. While developing our Bamboo Solar Cars, we noticed a visual parallel to conventional golf cars. We also noticed that the basic technical structure of a golf car is very similar to the cars we developed.
To realize the project of the Solar Golf Car we had the idea to modify the conventional battery powered golf cars in a sustainable way. With just a few modifications we were able to transfer our know-how from the last Bamboo Solar Car projects to this new project. Only a few iterations later we succeeded in creating a Solar Golf Car that is powered by the sun.
In addition, to the solar panels, a smart control unit was installed. This is connected to a mobile app that can record and display the range, battery status, speed, and energy mix. The app also provides information about the car’s carbon footprint and how many green or normal kilometers it has driven. The collected data will be then visualized in statistics.
This corresponds to about three to four rounds on the golf course. The Solar Golf Car reaches a maximum speed of 25km/h. By using Golf Cars equipped with solar panels up to 50% of the daily consumed energy can be generated from sustainable solar energy. Thus, our Solar Golf Car can be used on almost any sunny golf course in the world.
The idea for this project was born in cooperation with a local golf course, which is neighbouring to the Dr. Stetter ITQ Smart Villa in Gran Canaria. The operators of the course became aware of our activities like the SMART GREEN ISLAND MAKEATHON and the Bamboo Solar Car, after doing test drives near their golf course.
Thereupon, the operators approached us and the idea to equip their golf cars with solar panels, was quickly developed. The goal of the Solar Golf Car, is to develop a concept to make golf more sustainable in terms of Smart & Green Mobility. With the installation of solar panels and the use of solar energy, the CO2 footprint of golf can be reduced.
Sustainability and digitalization are gaining importance in the social discourse. Especially, for the mobility sector in which the focus is on the increasing use of renewable energies instead of fossil fuels. With the Solar Golf Car Project, we want to advance solutions in the sector of Smart & Green Mobility. The project is a good example to show that even with small means and innovations an effective and sustainable contribution can be made to our environment, as well as achieving great things in total.
Furthermore, it combines ecological and technological innovation. In addition, the Solar Golf Car is perfect for a student project to give young people the opportunity to help shaping their own future. Moreover, in this process their skills in terms of international and interdisciplinary cooperation as well as practical project management could be expanded. These aspects are also indispensable in the context of Education 4.0.
The first prototype was followed by two optimized versions of the Solar Golf Car in 2020. These included improvements such as a cloud-based data storage space with dashboard visualization, an improved sensor technology and a simplified hardware architecture.
Furthermore, the students worked on a new connector design (fiberglass connecting parts) between the solar panel and the golf car to make it safer and more aerodynamic. To ensure an efficient and cost-effective manufacturing of this connector, the team developed a reusable wooden form to easily build these connectors.
This also leads to faster, more resource-efficient and more accurate reproducibility of the connector. In this effort the ease of assembly and repeatability of their design was very important to the students to ensure that this solar innovation can be more easily adopted for other solar golf car versions in the future. Further steps in the project are to continuously improve the Solar Golf Car mobile app and to develop a new Solar Golf Car design.
Our vision which we are pursuing with the Solar Golf Car, among other things, is to focus on ideas and solutions that can be implemented easily and quickly relating to the topics of sustainability and digitalization. It is of great importance to make a change now, even if it is not perfect, instead of just talking about Smart & Green Technologies for a long time until it is too late to react.
With our Solar Golf Car Project we are able to create the possibility that future golf cars in Gran Canaria and worldwide will be powered by more sustainable energy resources such as solar technology and the need for conventional energy from fossil fuels or nuclear power plants will be eliminated. Besides that, we want to make a further contribution to the transformation of Gran Canaria into an innovative Smart Green Island. Due to the climatic conditions with a lot of sun and a lot of wind it is perfect as a showcase for innovative Smart & Green Mobility solutions.
In addition, the education of young people is our priority. Through projects such as the Solar Golf Car, we offer national and international students an optimal basis for Education 4.0. Thus, they can expand and train their knowledge and skills. This is the only way how we can build a sustainable and digital future.