Energy crisis is one of the most talked about issue of the world these days and new sources of energy are being established and researched upon extensively. A natural source of energy is Sun and Solar Power is being utilized in many areas of the world. You can easily find some solar panels in open areas where sun shines bight and there is a demand of electricity. Fossils fuels are also depleting and the rising prices of fuels used in cars has called for alternatives to be used as fuel. One alternative is to use the solar powered cars that run on energy absorbed from the sun and stored in some form useable by the vehicle. The technology is not just limited to the cars only, but solar buses, trains, boats, and even a solar helicopter has been designed.
1) 1912 Baker electric car
The first ever solar powered car that could be driven by man was launched in 1962 by The International Rectifier Company. The car was a vintage Baker electric car model 1912 and the company installed the photovoltaic cells on top of the car that converted the solar energy into electric energy that helped the car to travel. It was then taken off scene and launched again four year later when they installed 10,640 individual solar cells were mounted on top of the car. The very first solar powered car was too small to be driven by man and was only a 15 inch vehicle designed in 1955 by William G. Cobb of General Motors and was named sunmobile.
2) The Solar Bug
As the name suggests, the car is just like a bug i.e. small in size and has only a single seat with solar panel mounted on the roof. This bug was designed by Steve Titus / Freedrive in 2007. The car has a handle just like bikes instead of a steering wheel like in the regular cars but has four wheels and a roof that make it a car, not a bike or tricycle. The bug can reach upto 55km/h and can travel for around 100km in a single go with charged battery.
The solar powered cars mostly have a single seat to counter for the efficiency and power provided by the solar panels used to charge the batteries. Stella is the first family sized car which came to scene in the World Solar Challenge and completed a journey of 3000 km. Most solar powered cars have been designed for racing whereas it is the first car designed for road travel. It can travel a distance of 500 miles on a single charge. A large solar panel is placed on the roof of this car to keep it going further. This car is modeled by a Dutch team.
4) ‘Eclectic’ by Venturi, 2008
A three person solar powered car that looks like a cart but is quite faster than that. Eclectic was launched by Venturi in 2008 and has a solar panel at the top with an additional win turbine on top. The wind turbine also plays its part in producing the vital power required to run the car. Solar panel provides enough power to travel at the speed of 50 km/h for about 7 kilometers and the wind turbine mounted on top provides extra power to make it go further the same distance.
5) ‘Solar Powered’ MX5, 2006
Although it appears just like any other car on the road, it is still different from them. This is the car without a fuel tank. The reason behind the removal of fuel tank is to install an electric battery and a motor. Photovoltaic cells are mounted on the bonnet of the car that help charging the battery. The car was not so effective in its early days with a maximum range of 30 km but that was at the top speed of 110 km/h. The car was designed by Japanese engineers and served the purpose of saving fuel and travelling short distances.
6) ‘Astrolab’ by Venturi, 2006
High-efficiency solar cells made this car one of the best solar powered cars. The car has capacity for two people and doesn’t have the roof like normal cars but somehow like Formula 1 cars where the head of the driver and the passenger is out of the body of the car and top is full with the high-efficiency solar cells that make the car go far and that too at higher speed than most of the solar powered cars. This amazing car can reach an impressive 120 km/h and can go for 110 km.
7) ‘Solar Camper Van’ by Verdier, 2006
Going for camping and still enjoying all the facilities that require electric power seems great but is not feasible in most of cases as camping sites are those with natural beauty and far from the rush of people. The time is to relax and enjoy during camping but you may come up with something that might require some power to get the things done. Solar Camper Van is the ideal choice for you designed in 2006 by Verdier. The van has a couple of solar panels on top of it and convert the solar energy into electric power to provide you the required power during camping to enhance your experience.
8) The ‘Kudo Cart’ from Cruise Car, 2006
Serving the purpose of subway at a small scale is the Kudo Cart. It has capacity of 6 people and has a solar panel mounted on the top to provide the required power for carrying the people. There are limitations on speed while travelling by the cart but is still way better than walking in sweat during a shiny day that can soak you in your own sweat and extract most of glucose from your body.
Other than the mentioned ones, there are many other solar powered cars, buses, trains, boats, and trucks serving their purpose while saving environment of their CO2 emission by using Solar Power.