This specific race is happening in Australia. It will include various types of cars competing for the title of the best powered only by a solar panel on the roof. The car features a rechargeable battery that uses the solar power for its refill.
Hybrids are old news, electric cars are all the rage now. The ultimate goal is certainly the solar-powered car because it doesn’t need any additional energy except the one from the sun. However, solar powered cars wouldn’t be used for extended periods of time during gloomy winter days when the sun is not out. Still, that would cut the electricity cost by around 50% globally. That is a big deal when it comes to saving the Earth. These types of races are important for this reason.
The car that is going to compete is actually a family-sized car. It can carry up to four passengers. We are past one and two passengers now. Most solar cars today are built for the purpose of the solar car racing. It is a way to compete and prove that your technology is better and that it deserves more attention by investors and tech enthusiasts.
The first family-sized solar car was built in 2013. It was done by researchers at Chase Western Reserve University. They have redesigned their car afterward and developed an upgrade for the materials used. This upgrade caused the car to recharge faster.
Commercial Solar Car
Hanergy (Chinese company) is planning to build a solar car for the public use, not just solar car racing. Their model is going to utilize lithium-ion-powered battery. There are some specs available around the internet- with 5-6 hours of sunlight, the car will be able to go about 80 km (50 miles) and with a full charge it can run for 350 km (217 miles). Thin-film solar cells of this model need to generate about 8-10 kWh which allows the car to achieve the mentioned range and recharge time.
The company is planning to offer this car for sale on the Chinese market.
My honest opinion: This kind of car would be great for the repetitive drive to work where you stay around 8 hours and then with the short drive home. Even a couple of grocery shop stops would be fine I’m sure. I would recommend this type of transportation for small communities.