In Venezuela, innovators promote solar-powered electric cars

In Venezuela, people often have to queue to get fuel for their vehicles. Fuel shortages are common because oil production has fallen in the country. Poor maintenance and the lack of investment from the Venezuelan state oil industry are some of the reasons for the drop in production.

In Maracaibo, a once-rich oil town, two innovators have built small solar- and electric-powered cars. And they encourage the manufacture and use of these cars instead of vehicles that use fossil fuels.

José Cintron is a 43-year-old electrical technician. He developed a solar-powered car. Augusto Pradelli, 61, has created a small electric vehicle that can also use solar panels. Both cars are built on the Frame old golf carts with more power Battery.

Cintron and Pradelli explained the benefits of solar energy. Pradelli said, “The beauty of solar charging is that as long as there’s sun, the car is still charging. The sun is free, and that’s what you need to take advantage of.” And Cintron said, “Solar power is the future, we need to stop relying on fossil fuels.” He added that the switch to solar energy will not happen in a very short period of time, and he said that “oil is not going to disappear so easily”.

The two small vehicles can carry four people and travel between 25 and 40 kilometers per hour. The batteries that power them can be recharged with solar panels in 10 hours. They can be charged faster using an electric charging station, Pradelli said.

Davier Villalobos drives an electric micro vehicle in Maracaibo, Venezuela August 29, 2022. REUTERS/Jose Angel Nunez

The two men used their own money to build the small solar and electric cars. They hope to work together to develop a hybrid Electric car. And they hope that one day the car will be produced nationwide, a big dream in a country that was once one of the world’s top oil producers.

Maracaibo has a population of 2 million. It is the second largest city in Venezuela. Temperatures here exceed 34 degrees Celsius almost all year round. The heat makes walking uncomfortable. This is another reason why less expensive electric vehicles are an attractive choice.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro saw Pradelli’s car at a science and technology event last month. Pradelli said Maduro expressed support for the vehicle.

“The president said to me, ‘Augusto, I’m going to buy it for you,'” Pradelli said. He added that he told the president he would need support to produce it. He said that to manufacture the vehicles, you need an industry.

Speaking from his workplace in Maracaibo, Pradelli said: “These electric motors don’t make noise, they don’t vibrate, they do not pollute, they are the future. The world needs to think about how to get out of pollution and global warming.”

I am Andrew Smith.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. Andrew Smith adapted it for VOA Learning English.

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words in this story

shortage -not. a lack of, not having enough of something (usually a material thing such as water, bread, oil, etc.)

maintenance -not. work done to keep something in good working order (usually used with physical machines or systems, such as automobile maintenance, road maintenance, water system maintenance)

Frame -not. the structure, casing or support structure that gives the shape of an object, to which another material is attached. For example, the seats are attached to the frame of a car.

Cart -not. a small motor transport vehicle

battery -not. a device that stores electrical energy. In cars, it’s a rectangular box containing acid. It provides the electricity needed to start the car.

hybrid –adj. describing a mixture of other things, specifically two other things. In cars, he describes a mixture of two energy sources, such as gasoline and electricity, or solar energy and electricity.

uncomfortable –adj. causing physical irritation, pain or unpleasant sensation. For example, shoes that are too small can be uncomfortable for the feet.

vibrate v. shake with small, rapid movements, usually at a rate of several times per second. For example, the vocal cords in the throat vibrate when a person speaks.

global warming -not. increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere

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