The solar car that will represent the UAE in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge in unveiled at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National
The solar car that will represent the UAE in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge in unveiled at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National

Petroleum Institute unveils its solar car in advance of race

ABU DHABI // Worth four times the price of a Ferrari, the solar car built by the Petroleum Institute was unveiled on Thursday in the lead-up to the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge next month.

Ready to compete for the top spot, the vehicle is capable of hitting speeds of up to 150 kph using solar energy alone.

Dr Fahad Al Maskari, director of the PI Solar Car Project, said the vehicle is the culmination of an 18-month journey that has taken his team around the world.

“Today is an important milestone,” he said.

“The students in the team have worked to the best of their abilities and pushed themselves to the limit in utilising their knowledge and experience, and in applying it to the project in hand.”

The Petroleum Institute’s entry will compete against 20 other international teams in the inaugural four-day timed road contest, covering 1,200km of the Abu Dhabi emirate.

“It’s an excellent engineering project [in which] to put all our knowledge into practice and develop our skills for future work,” said Dr Maskari.

“The team put a lot of effort into the project over their senior year.”

This is the first time the UAE has taken part in a worldwide solar competition.

Over the past three decades, these contests have showcased the technology and speed of cars powered by solar energy.

The PI solar car team leader, Alatqa Al Hanaee, a 23-year-old Emirati, said it was the team spirit that got the car into competitive shape.

“When we started almost a year-and-a-half ago it was only a handful of students,” said Mr Al Hanaee. “Today that team has multiplied. This is the culmination of blood and sweat. This is what engineering is all about.”

The car incorporates some of the latest technology available in the fields of motorsports and solar energy.

Mr Al Hanaee said that like other competitions that incorporate cutting edge technology, the application of developing the systems paves the way for future consumer products.

“People always ask me what is the objective, what is the point?” he said. “If you look at Formula One, how that technology trickles down to the industry, this is – for the future renewable energy industry – Formula One. This is where it starts, and the technology trickles down.”

Qualifications and time trials for the four-day contest take place on January 15 at Yas Marina Circuit. The next day, the cars will speed through the heart of the capital and head towards the desert region.

On the final leg of the challenge, on January 19, the teams will drive back to the city, to the finish line at the First Gulf Bank Arena near Zayed Sports City.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, ambassador to the project and 14-times Middle East Rally Championship winner, decided to forgo his speech as he took the podium.

“I just heard that Aston Martin will be using solar technology in their races,” he said. “This is a sign that this is not just a one-off project; this is something to be sustained and proud of.”

Mr ben Sulayem said the PI solar car will shape the team’s future.

“We can only see something, we can only see good coming out of this. Eighteen months of devotion to the solar car – this is huge. Imagine the commitment and the challenge that they face,” he said.

“I wish them all the best.”


Company name: Sav
Started: 2021
Founder: Purvi Munot
Based: Dubai
Industry: FinTech
Funding: $750,000 as of March 2023
Investors: Angel investors

How being social media savvy can improve your well being

Next time when procastinating online remember that you can save thousands on paying for a personal trainer and a gym membership simply by watching YouTube videos and keeping up with the latest health tips and trends.

As social media apps are becoming more and more consumed by health experts and nutritionists who are using it to awareness and encourage patients to engage in physical activity.

Elizabeth Watson, a personal trainer from Stay Fit gym in Abu Dhabi suggests that “individuals can use social media as a means of keeping fit, there are a lot of great exercises you can do and train from experts at home just by watching videos on YouTube”.

Norlyn Torrena, a clinical nutritionist from Burjeel Hospital advises her clients to be more technologically active “most of my clients are so engaged with their phones that I advise them to download applications that offer health related services”.

Torrena said that “most people believe that dieting and keeping fit is boring”.

However, by using social media apps keeping fit means that people are “modern and are kept up to date with the latest heath tips and trends”.

“It can be a guide to a healthy lifestyle and exercise if used in the correct way, so I really encourage my clients to download health applications” said Mrs Torrena.

People can also connect with each other and exchange “tips and notes, it’s extremely healthy and fun”.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Dotemu
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 4/5

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Women’s World T20, Asia Qualifier, in Bangkok

UAE fixtures Mon Nov 20, v China; Tue Nov 21, v Thailand; Thu Nov 23, v Nepal; Fri Nov 24, v Hong Kong; Sun Nov 26, v Malaysia; Mon Nov 27, Final

(The winners will progress to the Global Qualifier)

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