Solar powered cars are different from electric powered cars in that, these cars are electrical cars powered by solar power and not electric power. These cars use solar energy to propel themselves. They have solar panels fitted on top of them and depend on the Photovoltaic or PV cells to convert the sun’s energy directly into electrical energy. These PV cells are made of semiconductor material such as silicon and alloys of nitrogen, gallium and indium. Hybrid electric cars get the electric power from the electric motor batteries, while solar powered cars convert solar energy into electricity which in turn powers the car.
This is a company based in California and founded in 2005. The founder Greg Johanson has over 20 years of experience in the solar electrical vehicle industry. The solar electrical vehicle system manufactured by this company is easy to install in a car. It generates energy from solar energy and converts it to electrical energy that’s capable of propelling a vehicle such as the Toyota Prius for at least 30 miles a day in electric mode. This company also manufactured a solar energy vehicle called the Sunrunner. The Sunrunner appeared at energy trade shows and exhibits. It was also exhibited on television and in movies. It had a range of 40 miles and could travel over 60 mph.
The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Energy Research Lab or SERL has a solar electric hybrid car called the UltraCommuter. The UltraCommuter is a 2-seater, ultra-light weight, hybrid-electric vehicle with a low drag. This car has solar panels that meet 87 percent of the car’s energy requirements and can travel 37 miles per day. Since it mostly uses solar power, its emissions are reduced by 97 percent as compared to conventional cars.
The company is planning to convert the Prius into a solar car but the solar energy would mainly be used to cool the car when it is parked or idle. With the SEV solar system, the Prius can operate upto 20 miles per day in electric mode and is expected to improve fuel economy by 30 percent. Although the installation of the solar panels would result in a higher purchase price, this could be recovered over 3 years through savings on gasoline.
You can make your own solar powered electric car by installing solar panels on your car. You would also need to convert your gas powered car to one powered by solar energy.
As gas prices continue to defy gravity and spiral upwards, the future of solar electric vehicles is bright. Also, as natural fuels get depleted worldwide, we will need to find alternate forms of energy to help us keep mobile in future. Apart from solar powered vehicles, you could also look up the wide variety of hybrid and electric cars that are available in the market. Since the competition amidst hybrid car manufacturers is high, now is a good time to purchase a fuel efficient and environment friendly vehicle.