The Solar Car that Could

by Benjamin Jones on December 19, 2008

These days it’s not unusual to hear about high-mileage stunt driving or incredibly efficient vehicles, but it is still a fascinating thing to hear about a solar car that can actually go somewhere, much less around the world. That’s not to say that solar isn’t great technology, but it does take a lot of energy to propel a car and it just hasn’t been done, until now.

But that’s just what Louis Palmer did, in driving around the world in his electric car over the span of what must have been a grueling 17 months. In total, Louis traveled through 38 counties over 32,000 miles during these 17 months, and became the first person ever to drive around the world in a solar-powered car.

As you can imagine, the car is not directly powered by the sun. Meaning, it doesn’t shut off when a cloud passes over head. Rather, the solar panels on the car and in the trailer behind it are used to charge an array of batteries that push the car at speeds of up to 55 mph and over a total range of up to 185 miles. The car can charge while driving, but also while parked, rather than being plugged in like a normal electric vehicle.

Palmer called the car a Solar Taxi, as he offered tons of rides over the course of the trip in order to raise awareness of solar power as a viable transportation solution among both common people and political movers and shakers all around the world.

Though the car was incredibly expensive to build (Palmer isn’t saying how much exactly), he says that both the vehicle and the panels can be mass-produced for less than $19,000. This is certainly an impressive number, though I’m sure there is a lot to be desired in terms of safety features for the 3 wheeled vehicle. Likely, it would need to cost a bit more and be a bit heftier to get tip top crash test ratings, but this is a great demonstration of the future for solar cars.


Source: Wired

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{ 1 comment }

1 Carsforsale February 3, 2010 at 3:14 am

After the hybrid then electric cars we were always thinking how people like us in the UK have a solar car it seems impossible because of our wheather conditions. But there must be some negatives towards the environment going solar?

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