It’s a community project that you don’t see everyday. The “Photo Torpedo” is a solar powered electric vehicle in the making.
The intriguing project was launched by Chemical Engineer, Belinda Larisch almost 3 years ago.”I thought well a lot of people are building electric cars, it’s kind of a -not common hobby- but it wasn’t unique. So I thought why not in the North where we have sun, why not just push the envelope a little and see if we could make it a solar electric vehicle?”
Larisch provided the idea, the MakerLab at the Two Rivers Gallery provided the space. “Every Thursday night from 5p.m. to 9 p.m. it’s ‘open make’ hours,” says the MakerLab Coordinator, Roanne Whitticase. “So anyone can come by. We have the whole upstairs space of the Gallery here turned into a maker space.”
Ian Simpson has been apart of the project from the beginning. “The intent of this car is that it stands alone, off of the grid and doesn’t require to be plugged in.”
“The very important things to do are the brakes,” says Larisch. “We are working on the batteries right now so we should get it powered quite soon. The brakes and the steering are of course very critical for the control of the vehicle. ”
After the steering and brakes are complete, its on to aesthetics. “We look for any donated parts for these aspects or just people who are willing to come and brainstorm with us,” says Larisch.
The goal is to have the Photo Torpedo driving by September; in time for the Mini Maker Faire. “Whether or not it actually has it’s solar panels hooked up or it’s cells powering the vehicle, but if it could be an electric vehicle zooming around that would be fantastic.”
Eventually, Larisch would like a street-legal solar vehicle. “Not during the wintertime ever; potholes, no sun in the winter and cold weather isn’t good for vehicles, but a summer vehicle. It would be really cool to just have that for the Gallery to bring out whenever.”