The Evolution of Solar Vehicles

Solar vehicles... Most can't compete with usual vehicles yet, but some can... Know which?


solar vehicles
Transportation around the world is changing. Car manufacturers are adapting to pressures from increasing world populations and a scarcity of resources as well as responding to legislation requiring ways to reach "zero emission" vehicles.

These requirements increased interest in new battery technologies and hybrid technologies. This in turn has interesting implications for the development of solar vehicles.



Solar Powered Vehicles - What's Up

A solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered solar energy. Depending on what solar vehicle we are talking about, the solar vehicle requires hundreds of photovoltaic (PV) cells in a solar array that convert sunlight directly into electricity to run. The PV cells are made of silicon and other semiconductor materials. The solar arrays are most commonly mounted on to the vehicle in a horizontal or vertical position to collect sunlight. The electricity is stored in batteries, which powers electric motors to turn the wheels of the car. There are various types of batteries that can be used such as lithium ion, lithium polymer, nickel cadmium, lead-acid, or nickel-metal hydrides.

The concept of building solar powered vehicles was really the domain of universities and manufacturers in the beginning. While the thought is probably on a solar car, there are also several other successful attempts to use solar energy to power vehicles, at least in a scientific phase. In addition to cars; motorcycles, air planes, buses and even boats are being developed. Solar energy is already being quite successful for powering electric golf carts and utility vehicles. These don't need to travel fast, which is one of the big issues for many vehicles.

Most of the early attempts at building solar cars were aimed at developing solar power for race cars and for small vehicles that could only seat one person. The biggest obstacle to building commercial solar cars is the amount of space required for solar panels large enough to power a vehicle. Since in most case, they are still too inefficient and expensive, they are not yet available for day-to-day transportation or even for buying if you would want to.

However, with improvements in the efficiency of solar cells, companies are now beginning to produce commercially viable solar vehicles that can fit up to 4 persons in the vehicle.

You can read more in the articles below about some vehicles powered by the sun.

More About Solar Vehicles

And if you want to explore the topic of electric cars in general, and other energy efficient vehicles in more detail, you can visit clean-greencars for more information about the best electric cars and hybrid cars currently available.

 


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