New Delhi: Giving a ray of hope to people stung by exponentially increasing petrol and diesel prices, a team of 14 engineering students from the Delhi Technological University (DTU) has developed a solar-powered car at the cost of Rs 1.5 lakh.

A solar car with various advanced features was flagged off by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday. The car, named 'Avenir', will be sent to participate in the World Solar Challenge 2011, a rally-race of solar cars to be held in Australia from Oct 16 to 23.

The DTU Vice-Chancellor Prof PB Sharma and Chief Secretary PK Tripathi were also present to attend the flagging off ceremony at Chief Minister’s resident.

“The car would participate in the 3,000-km long race from Darwin to Adelaide. This would be the first solar car from India to ever participate in the car race,” Sharma said.

The solar car is powered by multi-crystalline batteries. It is capable of generating one kilo-watt solar electricity, while it can attain the speed of 85 km per hour.

The car which has four batteries helps in storing the solar energy. The front disc brakes and efficient braking system of the car conserves energy when it stops.

The solar car has steering which helps in maintaining the speed of the car and reduce drag during driving.

Besides, the LED lighting system has been installed in the car to limit the energy loss.

Sharma said the World Solar Challenge is the most prestigious event of its kind. It is a great opportunity to showcase potential of the country at the world level. It will also bring lot of pride to the university and students.

“After that, the car will be produced on a commercial scale as well,” he added.

The successful project was guided by Dhiraj Mishra from Department of Electronics and Communication and Dr J P Kesari of Mechanical Engineering.

In conditions of low sunlight, the one seat car can automatically switch to back-up batteries, keeping the vehicle going.