Friday, November 9, 2012

Quick guide to solar cars

Solar cars are vehicles that are powered by solar energy. This means that their fuel is energy that is received from Sun, usually with the help of solar panels that are in most cases installed at the top of the vehicle.

Solar powered cars are still mostly all about prototype projects used for demonstration purposes and to show the public the engineering abilities of their owners. The solar car technologies, even despite being at the earliest stage of development, have still achieved somewhat respectable results in terms of speed and distance.

The fastest solar vehicle in the world is Holland's Nuna 2 that is capable to reach the speed of 105 MPH.

The Canadian solar powered car called Xof1 is the record holder in traveled distance by passing 300 miles in one day.

Solar cars usually look quite futuristic like coming from sci fi movies.

The vast majority of today's solar vehicles are primarily built for the purpose of entering the famous annual solar car race, the World Solar Challenge, a 3,000-kilometer race which is held each year in Australia (the continent with best solar insolation values).

The construction of solar powered cars doesn't come cheap because solar panels are still expensive, even with the recent drop in prices of solar power technologies.

The lifetime of solar powered vehicle primarily depends upon the lifetime of solar panels used in its construction. Most solar panels have lifespan of 20+ years.

Toyota Prius, the most popular hybrid car in the world, has recently introduced its new line with solar roof like the one used in solar powered cars that can ensure up to 20 miles better mileage.

Solar cars are still many years away from being able to replace conventional cars but still remain a very realistic future traffic option simply because solar energy is the most abundant form of energy available on our planet, meaning that eventually science and technology will be able to convert this gigantic potential into useful form of energy at acceptable costs and efficiency.

Once solar energy becomes a dominant energy source world will likely be full of solar powered cars as well as solar powered trains, ships and airplanes. This future will hopefully come sooner rather than later.