- The youthful innovator is using solar to power his homemade car
- Karumbo says he was motivated by his desire to own a low cost vehicle since his childhood
- He studies electrical installation at Kitale Technical polytechnic, Kenya
- His hybrid car can do 50 km a day due to its power capacity
- Karumbo is appealing for government support to achieve his dream
At a small garage tucked in the heart of Langas Estate in the outskirts of Eldoret Town, Samuel Karumbo is putting together the final touches to what he terms as a trail blazing invention.
He says that while growing up, he badly needed a car but a cost effective one.
And out of this necessity, this innovation was born.
“I admired owning a car and since I did not have enough money to buy one, I just sat down and remembered that I am an innovator. That is when I thought of coming up with a unique car, a solar-powered car that does not require any fuel,” said Karumbo.
For four months, he converted his small compound into a temporary workshop.
This was his foundry where he transformed concept into reality. His work, he says, has now paid off.
“The solar car is taking advantage of the panels that collect the rays from the sun then convert them into electronic energy then the electronic energy will be stored in the batteries then you can use the energy from the battery to drive the wheel,” explained Karumbo who holds a diploma in Electrical Installation from Kitale Technical Polytechnic.
He said the vehicle depends heavily on gravity when on descend. The motor acts as a generator for producing energy for later use.
The car can cover about 50 km in a day, the only challenge being the low speed motor which doesn’t allow it to use energy faster.
This hybrid car, or green energy car as he often refers to it, can also be used to charge phones or provide home lighting.
“The car which weighs approximately 120 kilograms has three solar panels to propel it. The solar panels have a total of 260 watts which is a lot of energy,” he added.
Karumbo said he wants to use the car to create awareness and reach out to people to adopt clean energy to protect the environment.
“One of the mitigating interventions that the country should put in place is to promote investments that work towards attaining the goal of using 100% renewable energy from sources such as solar, geothermal, tidal waves, the wind and even municipal waste as opposed to using fossil fuel generated power,” explained Karumbo.
He now wants the government to support him manufacture more solar cars.
“My dream is that one day the government will support me put up a big workshop so that I can be able to manufacture more solar cars and sell them to Kenyans so that we can get rid of fuel emissions on our roads that has great effect to our environment,” he said.
Meanwhile, his innovation has sent a wave of excitement among the residents of Langas.
“People take our Langas estate as a place that holds criminals but what we have seen is miraculously (sic) that we have a youth who can actually come up with such an innovation and have other youth emulate him,” said Stanley Maingi, a resident.
Paul Ogeto, another resident said: “We are asking the government to support this young man to get wherever he wishes to reach because he can really do great things in this country.”
Karumbo said he has so far spent about KSh 125, 000 (GHC5,800) to assemble the vehicle and although he has received interest from some buyers he says, that is still further down the road.