Since the demise of the affordable British sports car industry, the Mazda Miata has inherited the mantle of ideal car for a sunny Sunday afternoon blast. Much like its British forebears, the Miata has never been excessively powerful. What it has is cute looks, light weight and a one handed, three second top down as soon as the rain stops.
At the urging of the government of the Japanese Prefecture of Fukushima, a development group has developed a conversion kit that removes petroleum fueled power-train in favor of an electric one. The Miata now has an electric motor and battery providing a top speed of 62 mph and 19-mile range. For a car so ideally suited to sunny day driving they also added one obvious extra feature: solar panels. Given the limited surface area of the Miata, the solar charging capability is probably limited but it's still a worthwhile effort. The kit doesn't come cheap at an estimated $21,000 which is quite a bit more than a first-gen Miata cost new, but no one said being on the bleeding edge came cheap.

[Source: PhysOrg, thanks to Domenick for the tip]


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