About Solar-Powered Cars


Pure solar vehicles are being developed. A pure solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered completely by energy from the sun. The way it works is that the cars convert the sun’s energy into electricity using Photovoltaic Panels (PVCs) which then fuel the battery to run the car’s motor.

How PVCs Work

PVCs are made up of semiconductors that absorb light and produce electricity. This is how they work: When light strikes a PCV, it is absorbed into the semiconductor material. The sunlight’s energy then releases the semiconductor’s electrons and this creates an electron flow. This flow is the electricity that is stored in the batteries and is used to power the drive motor in the cars. If the panels are powerful enough, and the sun is shining, some of the energy they produce can go right to the motor if the car is being driven.


It would be nice if vehicles could run on just the sun’s power without drawing energy from on-board batteries. At the present time, this is difficult because it takes a lot of energy to power a car and today’s PVCs aren’t quite efficient enough yet. However, if a car is allowed to charge it’s batteries for a while, it does work – at least for very light, very specialized cars. These cars are not in production yet but that doesn’t stop 100s of entrepreneurs and inventors from producing them. For example:

Development of Solar Powered Vehicles

Ed Passerini is one of those people building solar vehicles and he’s been doing it a long time. In 1977, he completely constructed his own solar powered car that he named the “Bluebird”. Another example is Larry Perkins and his “Quiet Achiever” in 1982. Both of these vehicles were before their time and helped start the pure solar car movement.

Today, courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology, a pure solar car called “Stella” hit the road in the United States. It was designed specifically for road travel, and can haul up to four people from their current location to their destination. It is capable of driving up to 500 miles on a single solar charge.

Another example of a solar powered car enhancement comes from EVX Ventures, putting a lot of work into a two-person car named “The Immortus.” What is unique about this car is its specially-designed tires. They are ultra-low rolling resistance tires, specially designed for solar powered vehicles.

Solar Car Racing

An interesting thing that has arisen is the concept of solar car races. They are quite common now and are great ways for institutions to show off their solar car technology. The first known solar car race to have occurred was the 1985 Tour de Sol. It is still held yearly but there are dozens of others that have popped up in just the US alone. A big one is the World Solar Challenge and it takes place every other year.

The Future

As for the future of solar cars, it remains to be seen but one can state with some confidence that solar power cars are here to stay and development will continue. Just think about it: a car that is powered just by the free energy of the sun is just too exciting a concept to go away.

Article Courtesy of: Len Stoler Hyundai


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