In the realm of niche green technology companies mergers and acquisitions often go unnoticed because they aren’t that interesting. One which is at least mildly so though occurred recently when W2 Energy, a green energy company, acquired Free Drive, makers of a functional, low-speed electric vehicle which is partially solar powered.
What is interesting about this acquisition is the vehicle itself, which is called the Solar Bug. As a low speed vehicle it can operate at speeds up to 25 MPH (a slightly higher speed version – 35 MPH – exists for places where medium speed electric vehicles laws might exist). It travels more than 30 miles reportedly on a single charge and can carry two passengers and some cargo. Roof mounted solar panels provide much of the juice (200 watts), coupled with a proprietary regenerative braking system which converts braking energy into battery storage. It can travel up to 10 miles per day on solar power alone.
W2 Energy plans to sell the Solar Bug directly to retail customers and will also establish dealers worldwide. It is believed this will be the first commercially available solar powered vehicle in North America. On cloudy days it can be charged as well via a standard 110V wall outlet.
“We think the Solar Bug is a cutting-edge product,” says Michael McLaren CEO for W2 Energy, in a statement.”The Solar Bug converts power from the sun into transportation energy, and it looks really cool too.”