Electric cars are becoming more and more popular, and there’s no doubt that they are clean, mean driving machines. But they still require electricity to charge their batteries, and that electricity might not always come from a clean source of power. As of now, many auto companies, like Ford, are teaming up with solar providers to create solar-powered EV chargers, so that the cars can be completely free of fossil fuels. And that leads, of course, to another question: Will we ever have solar-powered cars? So far, the answer is maybe. Solar-powered cars would be cheap and totally clean, running off the sun and without needing any other power.
But there are, of course, logistics to consider. For one thing, conventional car design doesn’t really have the room for large enough solar panels (though perhaps something made with thin film solar could be an option). On top of that, there’s always the problem of weather. A few cloudy days, and you might find yourself stranded. So for now, most solar cars are in the conceptual or prototype phase, and many solar vehicles that are in use are much smaller than cars.
But some of them are ready to go. In October, the World Solar Challenge is being held in Australia, where teams from universities around the world will race the completely solar-powered cars that they designed and built across the scorching outback. The object of the challenge is to push solar vehicle innovation and to raise awareness of the potential that solar vehicles have as a viable means of transportation. The $10 million prize is a pretty nice incentive, too.
Check out the links below for more news on solar-powered cars.
- Bright Side of News and Business Insider talk about the World Solar Challenge, featuring solar-powered cars.
- Global Solar Technology, AutoEvolution and CNET profile some of this year’s World Solar Challenge contestants.
- SILive reports on Dallas-based Winston Solar Car Challenge.
- In Fort Knox, Kentucky, solar-powered vehicles are being used by the Directorate of Emergency Services. The Army has the details.
- The Times of India reports on the development by students of a solar-powered vehicle for people with physical disabilities.
- BNET discusses the development and logistics if solar-powered vehicles.
- Solar-powered car? What about a solar-powered road? IBTimes has the story on a new prototype that may change roads as we know them.