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Afghan man builds solar powered car to help environment

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By Farhad Naibkhel-Amid smokes and flames of explosions, talented Afghans are struggling to build something different, but helpful, and lead Afghanistan towards progress. Resources are scare, but spirits are high. Most of the times, efforts of talented folk in the country are hampered by unavailability of essential tools and kits as well as financial problems. Yet, they try to make a way out of the crisis, and build what they want. Talent lurks in every corner of the war-torn country. However, needs support to build things that would bring ease in lives of common people and earn good image for the country.

Wahidullah Sabawoon is not different from others as his story is the same when it comes to efforts and innovations. He worked day and night to materialize his dream of making a solar powered car to help environment and reduce fuel emission. Sabawoon is of the firm belief that his car would not only help environment, but those too who are worried by hike in petrol and diesel fuel prices. He is a graduate of Kabul Polytechnic University and studied electrical engineering. He is an employee of the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, a state-owned electricity supplying company.

Eng. Sabawoon is not the only talented innovator, but many other Afghans also built different astonishing machines including water pump, car, robots, and so on. However, due to lack of facilities no one succeeded to turn the prototypes into large-scale production. Instead of encouragement, they get only disappointment and their products are made fun.

Afghanistan is a war-hit country that needs too many qualified technicians and skilled innovator, such talents are available in the country, but the government has to carve out a clear supportive program to turn their talent into opportunities.

“I worked hard and bore many difficulties to build the solar powered car. After one and half years I build it successfully,” he beamed.

Talking to Afghanistan Times, he said that in beginning, it seemed very easy to him to make solar powered car. However, when he started designing and collection of required tools including motor for the car, he faced many problems. He acknowledges that it was not the cup of his tea but a herculean task.

“I was forced to purchase different types of motors and other tools to be fit for my designed car. Unfortunately, most of the tools were too expensive due to sub-standardization of markets in the country, and my allocated budget was spent before completion of the vehicles,” he recalled.

Speaking of the challenges that he faced when building the car, Sabawoon said he had no other option but to take loan and finish the project. The project took 18 months after importing motor and other parts for the vehicle.

He added that he is not satisfied with what he built, because he dreamed of something more interesting and attractive, but could not turn his original design into reality due to lack of necessary tools inside the country. He is committed to kick-off work on the design in near future if the circumstances permitted him. The vehicle can carry two persons with speed of 50 kilometer per hour. It cost $5000. Solar panels have been installed on the rear and front sides of the car to help it to move at a speed of 50km per hours. Once fully charged, the vehicle can ply on the roads for seven hours.

Sabawoon said with joy that he has built this solar-powered car at the objective to reduce the air pollution in the country, adding that if government helped him then he would build better vehicles to protect environment as well reduce the overall fuel consumption. The vehicle has four batteries and one can electricity to charge these if it was not sunny. “It was my childhood dream to build something like this. Finally, I have succeeded,” he said with a genuine smile as he is still a kid but no more hapless.

Sabawoon told that his three brothers helped him when he was building the car. They supported the family and him.

“When I was driving this solar powered car in the city, I faced some problems as I had no documents. How can I have documents when I built it? Instead of supporting me, attitude of the traffic wardens and other officials was quite annoying. There is program that could encourage the talented youth,” the annoyed engineer pointed out.

He termed lack of facilities and machineries main barrier in front of talented people in the country. He said that importing motors or other tools from abroad requires huge budget, time and some documentation.

He also expressed grievance over weak or supportive policy by the government for innovators, and termed it a kind of restriction on skills of those who want to do something for their motherland.

“Afghanistan got many young talented people who need government support to unveil their hidden talents and take part in the development of the country,” he believes. Sabawoon suggested that the government should build a center for innovators, and gather them all in order to use their skills for uplift of the country.