Two engineering students at al-Azhar University in Gaza have developed a car powered by sunlight.

The small, three-wheeled vehicle has solar panels affixed to the roof that absorb the sun’s rays and generate electricity that powers the motor. While the car can travel only at speeds of up to roughly 18 mph, its inventors hope solar-powered vehicles may eventually be a viable option for Palestinian motorists, Voice of America reported.

The technology that powers the vehicle is not altogether innovative. Other researchers around the globe have also crafted solar-powered vehicles, though none are sold commercially. Indeed, the electric-vehicle market itself is still fairly nascent.

Nevertheless, the students’ creation is significant due in part to the environment in which it was built. Because of years of war and trade restrictions, people living in the Gaza Strip lack consistent access to fuel, electricity and industrial materials. Gaza’s sole power station was bombed in a conflict with Israel in 2006.

“We decided to depend on a power that God gave us, which is renewable, alternative and clean energy. So we decided to make a solar-power vehicle,” one of the students, Khalid al-Bardawil, told Voice of America.

Bardawil built the solar-powered car alongside fellow student, Jamal al-Miqaty, under the supervision of lecturer Mazen Abu Amro.

In an Arabic interview with the news outlet al-Arabiya, Bardawil said businesses often close down for several hours per day because of outages and many people plan their social lives around the availability of electricity. Creating a mode of transportation that does not depend on electricity or fuel, which is also in short supply, could alleviate at least one limitation.

“As we all know, the transportation is important in our daily life, we have decided to create a car to solve a crisis — the shortage of fuel and electricity,” Bardawil told al-Arabiya.

Hazem Balousha contributed to this report.

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