Gazelle 3 Raring to Fly

Gazelle 3 Raring to Fly Gazelle 3 Raring to Fly

Gazelle 3 is the name of the solar car developed by Iranian students, which will participate in this year's World Solar Challenge in Australia.

Scheduled for Oct. 18-25, this is a biennial solar car race that spans over 3,000 km through Australia's rugged interior, from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia.

Speaking to Borna News Agency, Iman Zavavi, a member of the Iranian team, said, "It is actually a connection point between universities and industry aimed at commercializing these cars. This year 40 teams from 25 countries are taking part."

Zavavi noted the two teams from the Netherlands and Germany's Bochum University are their main rivals, as they are more experienced and have participated in many races in the past.

Iran took part in the 2011 race with two teams: one from Tehran University and the other from Qazvin University. But this year, there is just one team from University of Tehran, which comprises 25 students from the faculties of electrical and mechanical engineering led by two university lecturers.

Describing the features of the vehicle, Zavavi said Gazelle 3 has four wheels, holds two occupants and only weighs 550 kg.

Six meters of solar cells have been installed on it and its design is based on urban standards.

"Teams from Asia and the Middle East are taking part in the races for sure, but no other Middle Eastern team is competing in the same class as we are which is the 'Cruiser Class'," he said.

Asked about the response to the vehicle, he said the fact that a team from an Iranian university is competing alongside teams from other countries in an international challenge and very good, indeed.

"Considering the project's cost that was minimal compared to other teams, if we manage to rank among the top 10 teams, we have fulfilled our goal. The car cost $3 million, whereas the team ranking second in 2009 had spent $4 million on their vehicle," he said.

The idea materialized with the development of the first solar car, Gazelle 1, in 2004. Gazelle 2 was made in 2009. Work on Gazelle 3 started in 2012 to prepare it for the 2013 event in Australia.

"Unfortunately, we could not complete it within the deadline. Therefore, we are participating this year," he said.

After the Australian competition, the team plans to have a tour of Iran with their solar car. They will travel from the Caspian Sea in northern Iran to the Persian Gulf in the south.

"Later, depending on financial support, we will take part in competitions in Chile, South Africa, the UAE and Japan," he said.

"Unfortunately, while carrying out the project, we faced a lot of financial difficulties which still persist."

Zavavi added that till now, they have not been able to meet the expenses for the trip to Australia.

Since fossil energy resources are depleting, solar power should be considered an alternative source for powering cars.

Zavavi noted that Iran has plenty of sunlight, therefore it is wise to exploit this potential.

However, he predicted that solar cars will ply the roads no sooner than 20 years or more, because they are currently very expensive.