In the last few decades, we all have observed a rapid increase in the popularity of renewable energy resources, especially solar power! Solar technology converts the sun rays into electricity which is undoubtedly one of the most amazing and powerful alternatives. Think about how great the idea is! The idea of inventing a car with no fuel, no pollution of harmful emissions, no noise pollution, and very low maintenance! This idea has been a dream for a long time.
Similar to the houses powered with solar energy, the solar cars transform the energy from the sun into electricity. The electricity generated powers the battery responsible to run the car’s motor.
How does a Solar Car work?
A car powered with solar energy uses the energy from the sun. With the help of solar panels, car batteries are recharged. Solar cars rely on photovoltaic cells (PVC). These cells are responsible for converting the sunlight into electricity.
The photons of the sun's rays strike the PVC. This excites the electrons and consequently allows the electron flow. This creates an electric current. This electric current is nothing but an alternative fuel to run the car.
Do you Know?
The fastest solar car that exists till date is Sunswift IV. The students of the University of New South Wales for Solar Racing built this car. This car uses the technology that is similar to as well as a combination of the technology used in a bicycle, aerospace, and the automotive industry.
Advantages of a Solar Car:
Here are some of the advantages of using solar cars:
- No Fuel Required.
- Environment-Friendly and Sustainable.
- Low Maintenance.
- No Additional Costs.
- No Air Pollution.
- No Noise Pollution.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
-Arthur C. Clarke
The first solar car was made by General Motors. In the year 1955, it was showcased in a convention in Chicago.
This solar powered car was made of a small Pooley electric motor and twelve selenium PVCs. This Pooley electric motor was responsible for turning a pulley. This pulley rotated the rear wheel shaft. It was the first solar car, but also too small to drive.
However, we can consider Sion as the first hybrid electric vehicle. It can charge itself using solar energy. It has a total of 248 solar cells that are integrated into its body for charging itself.
When used for short distances, it has complete self-sufficiency. On an average, the car takes about half an hour to charge up to 75% - 80% at a charging station.
This car can be driven up to 249 kilometers (155 miles) on a single charge depending on how you drive. It is surely ideal for everyday use.
Do you Know?
The solar car Stella is the first car made for road travel.
Why are Solar Cars not yet Fully Developed?
- Why are we not yet driving around in solar cars? With a wide range of features in favor, there are a few reasons why even the most advanced automobile companies have not been able to fully develop solar cars.
- The first reason is the solar panels. For using solar panels, we will need to pack the car’s body with solar cells. These solar panels are neither cheap nor light-weighted. Doing so will add a lot of cost and weight. And if you think about the weight of batteries, the solar powered cars seem less real to the world.
- The Earth’s surface experiences 1kW of solar energy per square meter on a clear day. An efficient 4 square meter PV panel can generate about 8kWh of energy every day. This will drive the car for approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles).
- No proper arrangements of the panels, dirt in the atmosphere, and poor weather conditions make it difficult for the solar cars to reach above figure.
- Also, solar cars are not 100% environment-friendly. If we observe carefully, each vehicle comes with its share of carbon footprint.
- But this doesn’t imply that it is impossible. Researchers are working to create low weighted batteries and more efficient PVCs. Pure solar powered cars is still an idea with a lot of limitations.
Go Solar to Save Polar!