Seraaj Team Story
(Wahj) Embodies the story of the first Saudi car, and the story of pursuing success despite facing the bitterness of frustration.
The story began in 2010 (1431 H), when a group of students from the university of petroleum and minerals decided to make a not so traditional graduation project, a small remote-controlled solar car. But the project didn’t stay that way for long, it grew and evolved until a student team was formed named (Seraaj). The newly formed team decided to stare into the sun and create a real life-sized car that can carry one person and runs on the battery and solar energy alone. The name of the car (Wahj).
The name of the team and the car were inspired by a verse from the Holy Quran. The final goal of the project was no longer just to meet the graduation requirements, but to participate in the World Solar Challenge that is held in Australia every two years.
A group of students from Seraaj Team, who were led by Professor Amro Al-Qutub, A professor in the mechanical engineering department, traveled to MIT in America to learn the basics of manufacturing a solar car, which is a process that normally takes two years, but the team came back and finished the car in 11 months, and so (Wahj1) was born as the first car to be manufacture in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
When the team wanted to issue a chassis number, they contacted SAE in America, who are responsible for issuing chassis numbers all around the world. There replied saying that there has never been a car registered as manufactured in Saudi Arabia, and as such there is no code for the country. So the team chose RS as the country code for Saudi Arabia. Meaning that any car manufactured in Saudi after that time must begin with this code. The chassis number for (Wahj) was 001. So on the 30th of September, 2011 Saudi Arabia officially entered the list of countries that manufacture cars.
The first generation of Seraaj Team, along with their car (Wahj1), participated in the World Solar Challenge in Australia for the year 2011, and the result were satisfying particularly since it was their first ever participation. They were able to cross the road that runs from the north of Australia to the south of Australia and reach the finish line.
In 2012, the second generation of Seraaj Team was formed with the goal to construct (Wahj2), which they wanted to pass its predecessor technically, and to avoid a lot of its design errors. They wanted (Wahj2) to be one of the top ten cars in the 2013 World Solar Challenge. Seraaj team was composed of student from multiple disciplines. The team members faced a lot of technical challenges and spent more than ten thousand work hours of the course of a year and a half. And the biggest challenge, and the hardest to face was when Professor Amro Al-Qutub suffered a critical health issue that threatened to end the project.
Despite all this, the team managed to create (Wahj2), and it was shipped from the workshop at KFUPM to Sydney airport, where it was going to be shipped by land to Darwin, the starting point for the race. But, just a few days before the start of the race, the truck carrying the car was subject to a sudden fire, and the fruit of two years labor was turned to ash. The team was not able to participate in the 2013 race.
Today, the team aspires to finish (Wahj3) and to participate in the 2015 race. This time they are armed with the cumulative experience and a newfound determination. Seraaj Team from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals is an example of what determination can do.