Solar powered cars simply don't make much sense as everyday cars, simply because solar cells are too inefficient at this time to allow for enough juice to get you very far. Or, conversely, you might be able to go far, but not very fast! This might not be as much as a hindrance for ships, though. Take for instance the Island Pilot DSe hybrid ship
. This vessel is capable of 6 knots under the available 6.6 kWs of solar power alone, and is also equipped with a 25kW generator which is powered by a 1-liter diesel
engine adapted from the smart car
. Two electric motors capable of 35 horsepower give the vessel its thrust, allowing for sppeds up to 14 knots. While the machine is at the dock, the batteries are charged using a standard outlet. While the ship is at anchor, the solar array continues to charge the on-board deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, allowing for the continued use of electric devices. Cruising at slow speeds on sunny days is possible with the solar power alone, or for faster speeds, settings allow for zero, three or the greatest amount of solar power available in addition to the electricity generated by the diesel generator. Silent running is possible with this ship, which seems like it might allow for a more relaxed experience at sea.
Click here for some pretty cool photos of the ship being built.
[Source: DSe Hybrid]