solar powered cars

Solar Powered Cars - drive the future

What is a solar powered car?

Like solar-powered homes, solar cars harness energy from the sun by converting it into electricity. This electricity fuels the battery that runs the car's motor. Instead of using a battery, some solar cars direct the power straight to an electric motor.  Great examples of the latest solar powered cars are the University of Michigan solar car, the MIT solar car, and the Berkeley solar car.

   
Solar cars use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into energy. Photovoltaic cells are the components in solar panels that convert the sun's energy to electricity. They're made up of semiconductors, usually silicon, that absorb the light. The sun’s energy frees electrons in the semiconductors, creating a flow of electrons. That flow generates electricity that powers the battery and the specialized motor in solar cars.

 

solar powered cars will brighten our energy future - the Michigan solar car rocks

Benefits of solar powered cars

Solar cars have some key benefits. Their solar panels work silently so they don’t add to the noise pollution already on the road. Solar panels don’t create greenhouse gases, as gasoline engines do. Most importantly, solar energy is free, widely available, and grants the solar car driver complete independence from foreign oil.

Solar powered car design/technology

Solar cars combine technology found in the aerospace, bicycle, alternative energy and automotive industries. The design of a solar powered car is limited by the necessity of getting lots of energy from the sun and storing that energy in batteries. Almost all solar cars ever built have been for the purpose of solar car races.

solar powered cars could be very exotic in the future

A French company called Venturi has just finished a newer version of its original Eclectic Concept car from the 2006 Paris Motor Show. This newer version is smaller, slightly more aerodynamic and includes doors on its accessory list.

Like its forerunner, there are solar panels attached to the roof that generate power each sunny day and an available 300 watt wind turbine that is good for 8 miles when it's breezy. The car’s top speed is 28 Mph. If you’re out of power after sundown on a calm night, you can always plug in the on-board charger. The charger is powered by batteries and can go a distance of 31 miles in five hours.

Production of the neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) will begin in October of 2009. As many as 3,000 units will be produced each year at a new Venturi factory near Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France. The cars will be priced around $20,700.

solar powered vw camper bus puts the bus on the cutting edge of renewable energy

When will I be able to buy a solar electric or PV-powered car?

Solar powered cars have come a long way since the creation of the first solar cell in 1883. The Toyota Prius is the closest you can get to a solar car for the masses. The newest Prius, due out in late 2009, will feature a hybrid electric-gasoline engine, automatic self-parking, and solar panels to power its air-conditioning system. The solar cells would make Toyota the first major automaker to use solar power for a vehicle. Automotive air-conditioning systems are usually powered by your car’s engine, which has to work harder to keep the car moving and its occupants cool. By using a combination of a solar panel and an electric motor, Toyota is able to use the power of the sun against itself, save gas, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

These particular solar panels can't be used to power the entire vehicle, but there is hope: a U.S. company called SEV has demonstrated a modified, solar-powered Prius that improves fuel economy by about 29 percent. According to SEV, this gives you a daily electric-only range of 20 miles.

 

Solar car racing -- the World Solar Challenge

Solar pioneer Hans Tholstrup initiated the World Solar Challenge after he drove a home-built solar car called the Quiet Achiever across Australia from west to east in 1982. Inaugurated in 1987, the World Solar Challenge showcases the development of advanced automotive technology and promotes alternatives to conventional automobiles. The 2009 race will be held October 25 - October 31.

The challenge is a simple: build a solar car that can travel from Darwin to Adelaide in the shortest possible time. There are three main restrictions:

The first challenge in 1987 was a watershed. Twenty-three cars from seven countries entered. Runaway winner, General Motors' Sunraycer, got all the attention. It finished the race in just 44 hours, averaging 66.9 kilometers per hour. Sunraycer's success had an enormous influence on the development of the General Motors electric vehicles. The challenge has since become a testing ground for every facet of vehicle design from aerodynamics to tires. Auto giants Ford, Honda, Toyota and Nissan participate.

The event is popular around the world. Japan and the United States have long held their own versions of the event with events also being held in Europe, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Africa and the Middle East.

The World Solar Challenge is the premier forum for solar vehicle technology. It is the focus of the creative efforts of some of the best companies and engineering schools in the world and attracts worldwide media attention, books, documentaries and even a feature film.

Sources: aboutmyplanet.com, venturi.com, cnet.com, solarelectricvehicles.com, wsc.org

Tags:  Solar powered cars, solar cars, solar power cars, electric cars, solar energy cars

 

Find an installer:

Commercial

Solar Farms

Arizona

   - Avondale
   - Bullhead City
   - Casa Grande
   - Chandler
   - Coconino County
   - Flagstaff
   - Gilbert
   - Glendale
   - Kingman
   - Lake Havasu City
   - Maricopa County
   - Mesa
   - Nogales
   - Oro Grande
   - Oro Valley
   - Payson
   - Peoria
   - Phoenix
   - Prescott
   - Scottsdale
   - Sedona
   - Sierra Vista
   - Sun City
   - Surprise
   - Tempe
   - Tucson
   - Yuma

California

   - Anaheim
   - Bakersfield
   - Brea
   - Carmel
   - Chino Hills
   - Chula Vista
   - Corona
   - Downey
   - El Cajon
   - Fairfield
   - Fontana
   - Fountain Valley
   - Fremont
   - Fresno
   - Garden Grove
   - Gendale
   - Glendora
   - Huntington Beach
   - Irvine
   - Laguna Niguel
   - Lake Elsinore
   - Lakewood
   - Loma Linda
   - Long Beach
   - Los Angeles
   - Marin County
   - Merced County
   - Mission Viejo
   - Modesto
   - Montclair
   - Monterey County
   - Moreno Valley
   - Murrieta
   - Napa Valley
   - Newport Beach
   - Oakland
   - Oceanside
   - Orange County
   - Oxnard
   - Palm Springs
   - Placentia
   - Rancho Cucamonga
   - Redlands
   - Rialto
   - Riverside
   - Riverside County
   - Sacramento
   - San Bernardino
   - San Diego
   - San Francisco
   - San Joaquin County
   - San Jose
   - Santa Ana
   - Santa Barbara
   - Santa Clara County
   - Santa Cruz
   - Santa Cruz County
   - Santa Fe Springs
   - Santa Monica
   - Santa Rosa
   - Seal Beach
   - Shasta County
   - Sonoma County
   - Sonoma Valley
   - Stockton
   - Tahoe
   - Tehachapi
   - Temecula
   - Tustin
   - Ventura
   - Ventura County
   - West Covina
   - Whittier
   - Wildomar
   - Yorba Linda

Colorado

   - A-Basin
   - Adams County
   - Arapahoe County
   - Arvada
   - Aspen
   - Aurora
   - Boulder
   - Broomfield County
   - Centennial
   - Colorado Springs
   - Crested Butte
   - Denver
   - Douglas County
   - Durango
   - Eagle County
   - El Paso County
   - Fort Collins
   - Grand Junction
   - Greeley
   - Jefferson County
   - Lakewood
   - Larimer County
   - Littleton
   - Longmont
   - Loveland
   - Pitkin County
   - Pueblo
   - Salida
   - Steamboat Springs
   - Summit County
   - Telluride
   - Thornton
   - Vail
   - Weld County
   - Westminster

Connecticut

   - Bridgeport
   - Bristol
   - Cheshire
   - Danbury
   - Darien
   - Fairfield
   - Fairfield County
   - Glastonbury
   - Greenwich
   - Groton
   - Hamden
   - Hartford
   - Manchester
   - Milford
   - Mystic
   - New Britain
   - New Haven
   - Newtown
   - Niantic
   - Norwalk
   - Stamford
   - Stratford
   - Trumbull
   - Waterbury
   - West Hartford
   - Westport

Florida

   - Babcock Ranch
   - Boca Raton
   - Bradenton
   - Broward County
   - Cape Coral
   - Central Florida
   - Clearwater
   - Daytona Beach
   - Duval County
   - Florida Coast
   - Florida Keys
   - Florida Panhandle
   - Fort Lauderdale
   - Fort Myers
   - Hialeah
   - Hillsborough County
   - Jacksonville
   - Key West
   - Kissimmee
   - Lake County
   - Lakeland
   - Lee County
   - Manatee County
   - Marion County
   - Miami
   - Miami-Dade County
   - Naples
   - Orange County
   - Orlando
   - Palm Beach County
   - Pasco County
   - Pensacola
   - Pinellas County
   - Sarasota
   - South-Florida
   - St Petersburg
   - Suncoast
   - Tallahassee
   - Tampa
   - Volusia County
   - West Palm Beach
   - Winter Haven

Hawaii

   - Aiea
   - Big Island
   - Ewa Beach
   - Hilo
   - Honolulu
   - Kahului
   - Kailua
   - Kailua Kona
   - Kaimuki
   - Kaneohe
   - Kapaa
   - Kapolei
   - Kauai
   - Keaau
   - Kihei
   - Kilauea
   - Koloa
   - Lahaina
   - Lihue
   - Maui
   - Mililani
   - North Shore
   - Oahu
   - Pahoa
   - Poipu
   - Princeville
   - Waialae
   - Waialua
   - Waikiki
   - Wailea
   - Waimanalo
   - Waimea
   - Waipahu

Maryland

   - Annapolis
   - Anne Arundel County
   - Aspen Hill
   - Assateague
   - Baltimore
   - Bethesda
   - Bowie
   - Calvert County
   - Carroll County
   - Charles County
   - Columbia
   - Cumberland
   - Dundalk
   - Eastern Shore
   - Edgewood
   - Essex
   - Frederick
   - Gaithersburg
   - Germantown
   - Glenmont
   - Hagerstown
   - Howard County
   - Maryland Shore
   - Montgomery County
   - Ocean City
   - Queen Annes County
   - Reisterstown
   - Salisbury
   - Silver Spring
   - Standard Solar
   - Talbot County
   - Towson
   - Wheaton

Massachusetts

   - Barnstable
   - Barnstable County
   - Berkshires
   - Beverly
   - Boston
   - Brockton
   - Cambridge
   - Cape Cod
   - Chatham
   - Dennis
   - Douglas
   - Duxbury
   - Essex County
   - Fall River
   - Falmouth
   - Fitchburg
   - Framingham
   - Gloucester
   - Great Barrington
   - Harwich
   - Leominster
   - Lowell
   - Lynn
   - Marshfield
   - Marthas Vineyard
   - Middlesex County
   - Nantucket
   - New Bedford
   - Newburyport
   - Orleans
   - Provincetown
   - Quincy
   - Sagamore
   - Salem
   - Sandwich
   - Springfield
   - Suffolk County
   - Truro
   - Western Massachusetts
   - Weston
   - Weymouth
   - Worcester
   - Yarmouth

New Jersey

   - Asbury Park
   - Atlantic City
   - Bergen County
   - Camden
   - Cape May
   - Central Jersey
   - Clifton
   - Dover Beaches
   - Edison
   - Elizabeth
   - Essex County
   - Hackettstown
   - Hunterdon County
   - Jersey City
   - Jersey Shore
   - Middlesex County
   - Monmouth County
   - Newark
   - North Jersey
   - Northern New Jersey
   - Ocean City NJ
   - Paterson
   - Perth Amboy
   - Seaside
   - Somerset County
   - South Jersey
   - Toms River
   - Trenton
   - Wildwood

New Mexico

   - Alamogordo
   - Albuquerque
   - Carlsbad
   - Clovis
   - Dona Ana County
   - Farmington
   - Hobbs
   - Las Cruces
   - Los Alamos County
   - Rio Rancho
   - Roswell
   - Santa Fe
   - South Valley
   - Taos

New York

   - Adirondack
   - Albany
   - Batavia
   - Binghamton
   - Bronx
   - Brooklyn
   - Buffalo
   - Catskills
   - Cayuga County
   - Chautauqua County
   - Columbia County
   - Cornell
   - Delaware County
   - Dunkirk
   - Dutchess County
   - Erie County
   - Finger Lakes
   - Fire Island
   - Greene County
   - Hamptons
   - Hempstead
   - Hudson Valley
   - Ithaca
   - Jamestown
   - Jefferson County
   - Lockport
   - Long Island
   - Manhattan
   - Monroe County
   - Montauk
   - Nassau County
   - New Paltz
   - New Rochelle
   - New York City
   - Niagara County
   - Oneonta
   - Orange County NY
   - Orleans County
   - Oswego County
   - Otsego County
   - Putnam County
   - Queens
   - Rochester
   - Rockland County
   - Saranac
   - Schenectady
   - Schnectady
   - Schoharie County
   - Seneca County
   - Staten Island
   - Sullivan County
   - Syracuse
   - Ulster County
   - Watertown
   - Wayne County
   - Westchester County
   - Westfield
   - Yonkers

Oregon

   - Beaverton
   - Bend
   - Central Oregon
   - Columbia River Gorge
   - Corvallis
   - Eugene
   - Gresham
   - Hillsboro
   - Lincoln City
   - Medford
   - Newport
   - Northern Oregon
   - Portland
   - Salem
   - Skystream
   - Southern Oregon
   - Springfield
   - Tigard
   - Willamette Valley

Texas

   - Abilene
   - Amarillo
   - Arlington
   - Austin
   - Beaumont
   - Bellaire
   - Bexar County
   - Collin County
   - Corpus Christi
   - Dallas
   - Denton County
   - El Paso
   - Fort Bend County
   - Fort Worth
   - Galveston
   - Garland
   - Harris County
   - Hill Country
   - Houston
   - Laredo
   - Lubbock
   - Montgomery County
   - North Texas
   - Plano
   - Rockwall County
   - San Antonio
   - Sherman
   - Tarrant County
   - Travis County
   - Waco
   - Williamson County

Vermont

   - Barre
   - Bennington
   - Burlington
   - Champlain Valley
   - Green Mountain
   - groSolar
   - Jay Peak
   - Killington
   - Montpelier
   - Rutland
   - Stowe
   - Sugarbush
   - Waitsfield
   - Warren
   - White River Junction

Virginia

   - Alexandria
   - Annandale
   - Arlington
   - Blacksburg
   - Bristol
   - Chantilly
   - Charlottesville
   - Chesapeake
   - Dale City
   - Danville
   - Hampton
   - Harrisonburg
   - Loudoun County
   - Lynchburg
   - McLean
   - Newport News
   - Nokesville
   - Norfolk
   - Northern Virginia
   - Portsmouth
   - Prince William County
   - Reston
   - Richmond
   - Roanoke
   - Staunton
   - Suffolk
   - Tysons Corner
   - Virginia Beach
   - Winchester

Washington DC

Other States

Talk with a solar pro
free-solar-evaluation

Proud Member of:
Solar Energy Industries Association

American Solar Energy Society

American Council on Renewable Energy

American Wind Energy Association


Tesla Model S Hands On
Fold-up Electric Car
BMW Vision concept car
Tesla Solar Car driven hard
Better Place solar cars
Sponsor 2012 Michigan Solar Car
dasolar.com is a proud sponsor of the Michigan Solar Car
Aptera Solar Car demo
Karma Solar Electric Car
Genovation solar car conversion
Solar Powered Car
Solar Car Prototype
Solar cars everywhere - The Plan
Solar Car conversion
The Battery Revolution

Solar Powered Dirt Bike