SOLAR ENERGY IN THE AUTOMOBILE SECTOR: SOLAR POWERED VEHICLES

The world’s biggest and most powerful source of energy is undoubtedly the Sun. Not only is it extremely powerful, it is renewable and will probably never go out of supply. The usage of solar energy is also very safe. Solar energy is environment-friendly and solar energy should be utilized as much as possible. Unlike traditional sources of energy, it does not do any harm to the planet.

However, it took us a while to discover the usage of solar energy for our daily needs. Once we found out that solar energy can be used as a replacement to traditional energy sources, there was no stopping us. We came up with solar powered appliances for our homes and photovoltaic panels for stadiums and other facilities. Solar power helped us in curbing down our electricity bills considerably, as well. Today, such uses of solar power are quite common. What we are yet to see now is the solar powered vehicle. However new the vehicle may be, the idea is not. The idea of fully solar-powered automobiles is not new.

A solar vehicle is an electrical vehicle which is powered by solar energy. Photovoltaic panels fitted in such a vehicle are supposed to convert solar energy to electrical energy. Today, solar powered vehicles are not sold as practical devices but we will definitely see one soon enough.

THE SOLAR TAXI

A Swiss project called the Solar Taxi circumnavigated the world from July, 2007 to December, 2008.  It traversed 40 countries (about 50000km) in 18 months. It carried a 6 square- meter solar array. It was equipped with Zebra batteries and allowed a range of 400 km without recharging. The car weighed 500kg and it hauled a 200kg trailer containing the solar panels. The car is able to run 200km without the trailer. It could acquire the maximum speed of 90km/h. The production cost of the Solar Taxi was 16000 Euros.  The Solar Taxi was an example to show the public that alternatives to fossil fuels are possible and available.

LIGHTYEAR ONE

Winner of the Climate Change Innovator Award, the electric car from the Dutch startup Lightyear One is going to be fully solar powered. The fully solar powered Lightyear One is due to be released in 2019. Up until now the idea of a fully solar powered car was seen as an impossible one. The idea of the solar paneled roof was just not feasible enough. Hopefully, the Lightyear One is going to change the way we look at cars. The car will be one that will charge itself. It will be able to drive for months without the need to charge. The Lightyear One will supposedly have a 400km to 800km range. The Lightyear One’s mission is to provide clean and affordable mobility for everyone.

Very soon, we will be looking at cars which probably will not need any fuel to run. With the surged prices of fuel, it will be delightful for both car owners and the environment.

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