Wednesday, January 19, 2022
spot_imgspot_img
HomeNAIJAMy ultimate goal is to build an electric car – Nigerian bike...

My ultimate goal is to build an electric car – Nigerian bike maker, Muhammad



A 27-year-old graduate of Al-Qalam University, Katsina State, Idris Muhammad, who built an electric motorcycle, tells ALEXANDER OKERE about his passion and vision

Can you tell me about yourself?

My name is Idris Muhammad. I am from Nasarawa State. I am 27 years old. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Al-Qalam University, Katsina State. I graduated with Second Class Lower.

What do you do for a living?

I am currently a corps member serving at the Centre for Technological Development, Kaduna Polytechnic.

There is a social media report that you built an electric bike. Can you tell me about it?

Yes, I built an electric bike. As a little boy, I loved to create things. At secondary school, I was a member of the JETS Club. I just love solving problems; whenever I’m faced with a problem, I try to see how I can fix it.

Did you have any prior training in automotive design engineering?

(Laughs) None. The main inspiration is my passion for creativity and technology. When I was a teenager, I loved cars.

Where did the inspiration come from?

It started when I was at the university. In my first year, there was a challenge with the power supply and it was difficult for me to research with my phone because I didn’t have a power source for recharging the battery of the phone. So, I started looking for a solution. I did some research about renewable energy and found a particular battery called a lithium-ion battery, which was the best at that time, though expensive.

Faced by electricity challenges way back in my formative years at the university, and coupled with the lack of financial resources to afford a generator, I thought of developing a battery storage system to power my phone and fan and then light up my bulbs. I did it eventually. Subsequently, I was able to deal with a functional lithium-ion battery pack that could power my room for 24 hours straight non-stop. I also installed a solar panel to support it. It was during my final year at the university that I made up my mind to construct an electric bike and car.

Most of the materials for the bike are from craps from junkyards. After sketching the design for the bike, I built a prototype to just see whether it would work. I did not just want to make a bike that could move but a functional one. I made the prototype in 2019. I sourced the materials for the prototype from an electric motor and bicycles and it worked. When I started serving at the CTD at the polytechnic, I wanted to build an electric car. I met the head of the department and presented the idea to him. He was interested and told me to write something like a proof of concept, which I did. I showed him the photo of my prototype (bike) and he said it (the idea) could work. A few months later, I think it was in May, he told me that he liked the idea but advised me to try something small, so I decided to build an electric bike.

Building a machine is an expensive venture. How did you source the fund for the project?

I got funding from the department.

How much did it cost to build one?

I would not say it was cheap but I planned to use recycled materials as much as possible. But the prototype cost me about N70,000. I didn’t have a problem with the prototype; it could run for 30 kilometres but the problem was that I was on a tight budget.

Do you still have the prototype?

I had to use some of its parts for the Green Raven electric bike?

Did you have to add imported materials?

I bought the battery gauge to tell me the amount of energy left. I also bought the controller.

How did you come up with the name, Green Raven?

It’s not an official name yet. For now, I refer to it as the Green Raven – ‘Green’ because it runs on electricity and the electricity can come from renewable sources like solar and wind, and ‘Raven’ because it is a silent bike, not completely silent but one can hardly hear it coming; that’s why I use the horn often when I’m riding. Ravens are usually quiet and reclusive birds.

What are the specifications of the vehicle?

It is powered by a brushless DC hub motor embedded in the rear wheel. It runs on 1,500 watts but the peak from the motor is 2,400 watts. It is powered by a 60-volt battery which can get me an average range of 40 kilometres and more, depending on how one rides it.

Does it run on batteries only?

Yes.

How can it be charged?

It can be charged with a wall socket.

How long can it take to be fully charged?

The charging time is three hours when it is empty.

Has the Green Raven reached its completion stage, in terms of design and capacity, or do you have plans to improve on it?

I will make some improvements. I plan to add a USB charging port for smartphones and a phone holder so that the phone could serve as the speedometer. The bike does not have a speedometer. Maybe in the future, I want the bike to serve as an energy source to power a living room.

It appears the e-bike cannot carry more than one passenger. Can it?

It can take more than one but it would not be comfortable. I sometimes carry my brother. I actually have another bike I’m working on. It is going to be a full bike, with a seat for two passengers.

Do you plan to go commercial?

Yes, if I can find my way.

Have you received an offer of partnership in that regard?

For now, I don’t have any partnership, no offer yet.

Is the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology aware of your achievement?

No, I’m not sure.

Do you need its support?

Of course, I want some support.

Do you think it can support you?

I think it can.

Having achieved this, what is the next thing for you?

What I want is an electric car. I could only build a bike due to the level of funding I have and use the medium to gain more knowledge. My main goal is an electric car.

Have you read about young Nigerian inventors that had to either put their dreams on hold or take them to a foreign land because they could not get the right support at home?

Yes, I have about that. I feel sad but I can get there. I need support but I don’t bother myself about it. My spirit won’t be dampened if I don’t get such support.

How did your family feel when your invention went viral?

My siblings made the first post. They recorded a video. My family was happy. My dad was surprised.

Is he an engineer?

No. He is a quantity surveyor. My mum is a health officer.

Do you wish you studied engineering instead of biology?

Yes. All my life, I always wanted to study something related to engineering and I’m thinking about it now.

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments

    ×

    Powered by WhatsApp Chat

    × How can I help you?