The University of Calgary's Schulich Delta solar racecar shows off with a drive through Manhattan.
Companies ranging in size from small startups to major automakers have been experimenting with solar-powered charging stations for EVs and plug-in hybrids. And, of course, people have been powering vehicles with onboard solar panels for quite some time, too. Still, Ford's new C-Max Solar Energi Concept shows the promise of a truly practical implementation of solar on a production vehicle, and it may not be as far off in the future as we had thought.
The 2012 American Solar Challenge just finished with a familiar winner: the University of Michigan Solar Car Team. (We featured this impressive student group on TRANSLOGIC 99.) Along with claiming a 4th consecutive national championship--and 7th title overall--the U-M team also broke the national record for the 8-day endurance race. Of course, that record was already set by the "maize and blue" in 2008.
The totally awesome Toyota 2000GT SEV unveiled earlier this year was the result of what was called the "Crazy Car Project," undertaken by the Toyota Automobile Association. While no doubt some thought that converting the iconic car, of which only 353 examples were made, to run on solar power a bit insane, perhaps there was a method to their madness.
The move to electric-powered vehicles is still in its fledgling stages, but there are plenty of signs that the next few years will finally start ushering in battery-powered transportation for the masses. But there's one class of vehicle that has almost always been powered by batteries: R/C cars. Slap in a couple of 9-volt batteries and a slew of AA cells, and kids of all ages get to pretend they're Ken Block in the backyard until mom says it's time to clean up for supper.
Marcelo da Luz and his team, world record holders for the furthest distance traveled in a solar-powered car, have had their share of ups and downs on their journey across North America in the Xof1 (Power of One) solar car. At one point, the car was even mistaken for a flying saucer with little green men aboard. Sadly, after making it all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana, driver Marcelo da Luz was robbed of passports, laptops, credit cards, cash, a digital camera and a portable hard drive.
Don't get too excited yet, but reports are coming out of Japan that say Toyota is developing a solar-powered car. First of all an electric car that draws electricity solely from the sun is still quite a few years off. The first stage is a car that gets some power directly from vehicle mounted solar cells with the bulk coming from being plugged into a solar array at home. This is really not much different than some Tesla Roadster owners like Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk are doing today, some wit
Twelve years ago, Toyota started selling a car that was bought by those considered avant-garde, on the fringe. It was called the Prius. Now Toyota is looking to "turn around its struggling business with a futuristic ecological car," and the company is supposedly working on plans for a solar-powered car. We'll ignore, for a moment, that a company with $18 billion in cash and experiencing its first annual operational loss in 70 years is now called a "struggling business." The noteworthy news is th
Well, it's not exactly a solar car, but it's a start, right? By now, everyone is aware that General Motors is in a bit of financial trouble at the moment, and those U.S. problems will definitely have an impact on the European automakers also owned by GM, including its Opel subsidiary. A German power company called SolarWorld has made an extremely odd offer to the General to purchase the Opel brand for 1 billion euros, or about $1.26 billion in U.S. funds. Um, not gonna happen, for a variety of r
Lest you think that it's easy to make a competitive solar racer, take a look at the videos of the University of Texas' Samsung Solorean (the name is a reference to the DeLorean from the Back 2 The Future movies), which are pasted after the break. In a nod towards that movie car, the portal to enter the solar racer opens gull-wing style. Pretty cool. The SunPower A300 solar cells, which cover the carbon fiber body with a Kevlar enclosure, can generate 1.1 kW of power. An on-board battery pack is
We just got tipped that Sunmotor, an electric vehicle hopeful based in Boston, plans to release its first product in America. It's solar and electric powered car ain't pretty, that's for sure. In side profile from wheel-to-wheel, you'll notice that Sunmotor's car is a clear smart fortwo knock-off. We wish it stayed that way, but the front and rear glass of the EV takes its own styling direction. And it's an extremely unfortunate one. We are guessing that the car's designers wanted to maximize th