After graduating from IIT Mumbai in 2013 and working for a private firm thereafter, Sushil Reddy was set for life. But he had some other plans in his mind.
Concerned over global climate change, Sushil, hailing from drought-ridden Maharashtra, left his job this year and started putting his education gained in IIT to practical use. This is when Sushil, who has earned integrated master’s degree in solar energy science and engineering from one of India’s premier most engineering institute, began designing a solar energy powered electric bicycle and decided to ride six states with it and spread the awareness on solar energy.
On Tuesday, this 27-year-old lad reached Bathinda after entering Abohar in Punjab on Monday from Rajasthan’s Ganganagar. From Punjab, he would go to Uttarakhand, then Delhi and from there, to Mumbai via Rajasthan. On this mission, he is not alone. Accompanied by three friends- Rajinder Bhaskar, Krunal Tailor and Himanshu Singh- they started from IIT on May 8 and travelled through various parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Sushil and Rajinder ride on the bicycle whereas Krunal and Himanshu Singh travel on a four-wheeler behind them as support team. They all travel about 100 to 120 kilometres daily on average. On their way, they spread awareness among school children, engineering and other college students and professional engineers at various cities.
They also talk to passers-by on road, who come to them after getting intrigued with bicycle’s design, tell them about the benefits and uses of solar energy. Sushil said, “Earlier I had designed a bicycle with solar panel fitted on as roof and travelled from Mumbai to Goa in December 2015, but it had some technical limitations so I changed the design again.’’ He said now he has modified a manually operated geared cycle into electric plus manually operated cycle. He fitted a 250 watt electric motor in rear axle of the cycle which draws its power from a lithium-ion battery and generates about 300 horsepower.
The battery takes two hours to charge completely from the solar panel, which is resting on a small trolley, hooked to the cycle. Riding under the motto- The Sun Pedal Run- he said that solar energy was the best source of energy and could be used as the best alternative source of all non recyclable sources. Sushil said that when he designed the cycle in March 2015, he contacted the sponsors and planned the bicycle ride through six states in 70 days. He now wants to raise funds for a non government organisation to provide solar energy system to a school in Jatrana village of Rajasthan. Sushil and his team will go to Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana and then would go to Chandigarh. After that they will go to Roorkee in Uttarakhand and then Delhi, from where they would head to Mumbai.