NV8 — 3D-Printed Solar-Powered Car Made By University Students In Singapore

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Behold the NV8 (Nanyang Technological University Venture 8)! This is a 3D-printed solar-powered car capable of hitting ~60 km/h (37 mph).

The solar car — which was made by two teams of 16 students each at the university in Singapore — is composed of a carbon fiber single shell chassis + 150 printed parts which are attached in various ways to the chassis. Altogether the vehicle weighs only 120 kilograms (256 lbs), and measures 3.2 x 1.3 x 1.3 m (10.5 x 4.3 x 4.3 ft).


According to those involved, the car is built strongly enough to support the weight of its cargo with no issues — supposedly owing, at least in part, to “an array of honeycomb shapes on the car’s inside surface” meant to stiffen the structure. The vehicle also makes use of a “unique joint design to hold the various parts together.”

The silicon solar cells used to power the vehicle were actually “hand-built” by students as well — and shaped to conform to the vehicle’s overall design, and wired up in series and in parallel to form a module.

Speaking about the solar cells, a media representative at NTU, Lester Kok stated: “For their small area, they will provide from about 50 to 100 watts (peak) of power depending on sunshine levels. This will partially power the car.”



“Using the latest engineering techniques learnt from their studies in NTU, the students have developed innovations such as silicon solar cells that can be contoured to follow the car’s shape. This allows for maximum harvesting of the solar energy and a tilting mechanism in NV9 that can ‘lean’ in the direction of the turn to avoid losing speed,” stated one of the project’s mentors, Associate Professor Ng Heong Wah

The NV8 is set to race in the Urban Concept category at this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Asia — taking place in Manila from February 26 through March 1.


h/t Green Optimistic

Images by NTU

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

14 thoughts on “NV8 — 3D-Printed Solar-Powered Car Made By University Students In Singapore

  • How many seats,please?

    • From looking at the pictures it may be two seats, however most cars entered into races are only one seat

  • Wouldn’t it make more sense for a solar car to be shaped more like this:

    Aero-dynamic with lots of room for panels, batteries and people.

    • too much weight, but very sleek, lower speeds = greater range, plastic cars + solar make some sense, a 50 foot x 20 foot solar panel generates 5 thousand watts, the area of an auto with today’s technology would maybe let you use the radio.

      • The nissan leaf is 4.55 by 1.77 meters. Cover most of the car body body with 20% effiicent PV and on a sunny day it could produce enough electricity for it to drive 40 kilometers, which is the average distance a car is driven daily in Australia. Now there are good reasons why this isn’t done currently, expense definitely being one, but I think it’s very likely that a significant amount of PV will be an option on many electric cars in the future.

    • Check out the car in the background of the first photo in the article. That one is far more aerodynamically sleek with a nice look to it. Interesting that the subject car in the foreground was 3D printed. But, yeah, kind of aerodynamically lumpy. Cool, none the less.

      • Thing is, if you can imagine it then the printer can make the car you envision.

        Opens up some interesting future options. Start with a generic platform (frame, batteries, running gear, steering, etc.) Pick seats, dash, whatever. Print out the body you want.

        We’re years from having a mature process but it looks like we’re on the way.

        • One of the 3D printing stories that was a blip in the daily news late last year that I found particularly fascinating was when NASA sent data up to the International Space Station for a wrench and it was 3D printed up there . . .


          . . . proving that many smaller useful objects can be brought into low Earth orbit this way and leaving the rocket boosters for the heavy lifting of bulky cargo and humans. Big money and time savings.

          Another thing I found interesting about 3D printing is some of materials the process prefers. Lower cost machines print objects in a variety of plastic mediums. But 3D printing of metal is ultimately where I envision most are wanting to go with this technology. It turns out titanium, which is one of the more difficult metals to machine or weld, is the very one that adapts most readily to 3D metal printing, as shown on this bicycle . . .


          • Yes it is very cool and interesting the way that 30 printing is helping reduce costs and improve the utility of space missions.
            Apologies for not having a link, but a couple of weeks back there was an update to that wrench story where shortly after they sent him plans for building a ratchet to drive it after an off the cuff remark by the astronaut.
            Another interesting development is they are either sending or have sent a processing unit that can use leftover materials on the space station or reprocess items already used for more feedstock for the printer.
            Space flight and missions are going to be radically different in fifty years from now than how they worked fifty years ago when they began, and it is great to be sitting here in the middle and seeing these changes happening.

  • oh so inspiring, the printed honeycomb strength, brilliant

  • Were the electric motor, tires and solar panels printed? Or just the body?

    • Would I want to 3D print an electric motor? Probably not. If there are small parts involved that might be difficult to machine out of a metal like titanium (see the link in one of my above posts regarding the 3D printed bicycle,)
      then yes for those. But electric motor housings are probably going to be cast and/or machined aluminum for now and, interestingly, aluminum is a metal that does lend itself particularly well to 3D printing technology. You’re going to want to wind the interior of the motor with copper wire and this will invariably be something accomplished more conventionally.

      Tires? Perhaps it’s useful for a manufacturer to print a few examples to prototype unique tread patterns but, once you want to manufacture a design in any sort of quantity, conventional molding techniques are almost certainly going to be quicker and more cost effective. Given the budgets usually associated with these college level solar cars, I’m almost sure the students simply bought off-the-shelf motorcycle tires.

      I’m going to guess it’s possible to print a solar PV cell, as it’s possible to control the process to exactly select electrically conductive and non-conductive layers and traces. Micro printed circuit boards that are now fashioned out of fiberglass with copper traces applied and tiny integrated components lead soldered onto them can now be 3D printed as a single entity.

  • That was really amazing and really wonderful. This just shows a very wonderful potential to those students who made it. It can help a lot of people by using the heat of the sun in order for them to run a vehicle.

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