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The Evolution of Solar Cars

Solar cars... Can't compete yet with usual cars, but the evolution is continuing...


solar car
The sun's energy is an excellent source of electricity and the innovation in the solar technology is getting exciting.

Solar energy served many purposes including heating and cooling buildings, produce electricity, control the navigation and communications systems.

And the latest innovation is the evolution of solar cars.

Solar Powered Cars - What's Up


How Does It Work?

The sun is all that powers solar cars, where it generates energy for their fuel. Solar cars utilize hundreds and thousands of photovoltaic cells to convert the sun's energy to electricity. Each of these photovoltaic cells can in general generate an electricity equivalent to half a volt.

Scientists and engineers still have many problems and concerns to face before solar energy to be an efficient, and at the same time economical means to fuel solar cars.

But as demand for fossil fuel increases and supply decreases, prices increase and global warming becomes a more and more alarming possiblity, this further challenges the researchers to search for other alternative energy sources, and that includes harnessing the energy of the sun to power a vehicle.

The most interesting part, indeed that this kind of energy source is inexhaustible and pollution free.

General Motors

When the General Motors team designed the electrical system of their solar powered cars, they had considered different variations in the sun's energy. The solar energy still charges the battery and continued powering the car even if hidden by clouds. They have analyzed that if the solar car is designed to use up all of its energy for driving and reserve nothing, it will definitely stop during cloudy weather. On the other hand, if more energy than needed is diverted into the battery, the engine will run too slow to keep up the constant speed.

They're not ready yet.

Toyota

The most recent news have featured about Toyota's plan of building solar panels into the roof of their previous inventions, the successful Prius that is a hybrid that uses both gas and electricity.

The additional solar energy will be required to power the air conditioning. But evidently, this Japanese car company is designing another vehicle that will function solely on solar power alone.

Toyota is driven by the idea of closing the gas station and makes it only a part of the history. The initial stage was the development of electric solar vehicle hybrids that derive some of its energy from the solar panels installed on the vehicle and can also be recharged with the power that is stored form the solar panels that is set up in the roof of your home. Toyota's solar car project has the intention of helping the company emerges despite this economic crisis. You can have a look at the solar hybrid Toyota Prius in the video below.

Mindset AG

Anotehr interesting solar powered car is the new Six50 sedan by Mindset AG. This is an evolving sports car that is powered by solar panels to keep the vehicle going. The company is planning for market introduction in late 2009 and serious production to start in early 2010. They also state on their website that the price of the car will be "comparable to that of a well-equipped mid-size car from a premium brand". So what does that mean? That most people can afford it? Or not?

The car is designed of about 800 kgs in weight and a length of 4.2 meters. It is one of those hybrid models that desires to achieve the most efficient and economical method of transportation. The circular headlights on the front are a remindful of the 60's but the entire vehicle seems the be futuristic in the design. The roof is equipped of solar panels that can generate electricity to power lithium ion batteries and can supply a total of around 100 km of travel per charge.

At first, the car will be available in Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. And at a later stage, it will also be distributed to other European countries, including England, Italy, Austria, and Spain. So when will it come to the US, where alternatives to fossil fule cars are really needed!?

Anyway, you can see a prototype of the car in the video below.

Solar Car Race Video

Fortunately "ordinary solar cars are not planned to look like small space ships. But have a look at the race cars below. Pretty cool, don't you think?

To learn more about hybrid cars of different kinds, read this article by "The Green Living Expert".

 



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