While solar vehicles are still rather more of a curiosity than a practical transportation solution — for most purposes anyways — the technology is slowly improving. And, for that matter, it is/could-be well-suited to certain specific environments or purposes. So before you brush off the technology completely, why not take a look at some interesting, recently created vehicles.
While the vehicles certainly don’t have the polish of a production vehicle, some of them do present interesting solutions to various common transportation needs. While I wouldn’t argue that solar-powered vehicles will replace conventional vehicles anytime in the near future, it does seem possible that they could carve themselves out some specific niche, or niches.
A couple of the recently created vehicles in question — which were used in the International Solar Rallies of India — are detailed below. If you’re interested in seeing the other 12, then you can head over to Moss Solar. 🙂
Solar No1 is a light weight efficient 4 wheeled solar vehicle which originally had 8 x 80 Watt panels that were reduced to 6 panels for safety and for the reason that 480 Watts was sufficient power for the 2 x 12 Volt batteries operating at 24 Volts. It reaches a speed of 40 kph and has carried 4 passengers for 100 kilometres in a day.
Solar No 2 is based on the London cycle taxi with 2 x 85 Watt solar panels on the roof and power from a Lynch motor. It gives a good illustration of power from the panels and a human as it is generally accepted “that a person can” when cycling produce 85 Watts; so the roof panels are equivalent to 2 cyclists power, which does not stop working at traffic lights or during lunch, the power being stored in 2 x 12 Volt batteries.
If you want to consider something that may seem even further off-field than driving a car powered entirely by the sun, then consider the possibility of a solar-powered plane, perhaps even one that could stay in the air five years at a time — since we’re on the subject of highly specialized niches.
Might sound completely ridiculous at first, but it’s apparently something being seriously considered by none other than the government of Russia, and the aviation industry in the country.