Pakistani engineer pioneering a hybrid car revolution

Aslam Azad, an MIT-graduate and an engineer who made his name in the field of air conditioning, has now come out with the prototype of a solar-powered car - the Eco-1 – a doorless two-seater that promises to herald a made-in-Pakistan hybrid car revolution in the near future.

The air-conditioned Eco-1 is equipped with a GPS tracking system and strong, all-weather frame and will run on solar power, helping the government save money spent on costly and polluting hydrocarbons, media reports in Pakistan said.  

The development comes at a time when the Pakistan government is looking at importing small hybrid cars of 1,000 cc to 1,200 cc, although it does not have the necessary funds.

The annual budget, however, does not provide for import of eco-friendly hybrid cars that would reduce use of hydrocarbons and help conserve energy.

Even as the chances of importing Japanese-made hybrids exist, Aslam's invention is expected to drive in changes in the way people in Pakistan travel over the next few years.

Eco-1 is not planned as a typical solar-driven car, for it may consume an assortment of energies, including kinetic, organic cell, pneumatic, magnetic generator and even external electrical or battery charging.

Aslam drives to his office in the doorless two-seater Eco-1, the first prototype. "I have used the best possible battery which charge faster while providing higher output," explains Aslam, while clarifying that the standard batteries can't run a car to longer distance and at faster speeds.

Though 'Economia' has launched three models of the Eco cars, online booking of the vehicle will start only next year.

The car matches the performance and safety specifications of any imported or locally-made 1,000 cc car, while the smallest Eco-1 is priced four times less than its competitors.

"We are working to improve its speed from 60 km but there won't be anything you'll miss in these vehicles," says Aslam.

He is planning to produce 1 million taxis which while saving money and reducing the nation's oil import bill, will leave Pakistan's cities and the countryside cleaner.

Aslam, a native of Shaikhupura, has also pioneered the designing and manufacture of energy saving central heating system since 1997 using brand name 'Economia'.

True to his ideals, Aslam's office is also wired with a solar power generation system while diesel generators continue to contaminate the air in the capital's business sector, called the Blue Area.