How does a solar car – electric car work?
The first question you might have is: “What exactly is a solar car, anyway?”
A solar car is essentially an electric car. Instead of getting its power by being plugged into an electrical outlet, the electricity needed to run the engine comes directly from solar panels that are attached to the car.
The solar car currently uses photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
Most of the time, right now, the solar car is a concept car. You’ll see them in showrooms in the salons where automotive design car manufacturers are presenting their intend to manufacture … later. The solar car, of course, that are operational, are not created to run long distances, and they need a lot of sun to work.
Photovoltaic cell solar panels, are used to run the solar car, to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity sufficient to operate the electric motor that propels the solar car. Any additional electrical power is directed to a battery for storage. The solar car built today is mostly used for racing. They are lightweight and have small cockpits with just enough room for the driver. Solar panels that are constructed for the solar car cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The solar car cannot operate for very long distances.
So in answer to the question “Does a solar car work?” … I think you have to say, “Under very limited circumstances – for now. “
As technology evolves, however, the solar car will keep a promise to help us reduce or eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels, of which the discharge of carbon dioxide that its leaving has such a negative environmental footprint. There are actually new technologies that allow solar cells to be placed in the paint. Soon it could mean the paint on a solar car can produce and collect enough energy to run the solar car to start with.
Coal burning power plants in the U.S. emit 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. Vehicles in the U.S. contributed 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide. If we really want to have an impact on reducing global warming, we must take a long hard look at all of our energy consumption, including our vehicles. With only 4% of the population of the world, we are the biggest polluter of the planet. Hence the need for the solar car.
To resist new legislation or incentives that would really produce tangible results, the auto industry and fossil fuel energy exerted pressures making the outcome long and difficult. This resulted in a continued strong market for SUVs and other large vehicles that burn twice as much fuel and double carbon emissions. It also slowed the progression of creating a strong legislation, solid enough to reduce automobile emissions and the production of the solar car.
Technology in automotive solar car energy is very promising. Solar cars can run fast … and produce no pollution. No carbon dioxide and … no noise, as solar panels work silently to collect and store energy. Although there is no complete solar car currently on the market for the average driver, the SPEV, or Solar Powered Electric Vehicles should start arriving in the market for use by the general public sooner rather than later. Solar cars are built as a concept and prototypes for racing, the solar car is almost always a vehicle for one person capable of short trips or short driving before needing to be plugged in for recharging. A SPEV, however, and this shows the promise in the solar car five-door hatchback Blue Car. During production in Europe, the announcement for this vehicle in habitat.com states: “The solar panels on the roof of the vehicle provides some power for the vehicle systems, it comes with regenerative brakes and Lithium Metal Polymer batteries, and has a range of 155. miles per charge. According to the manufacturer, all materials in the construction of the solar car were obtained to be as green as possible. “
Toyota edged on the market as well, although it is still in the hybrid market. It’s 2010 Toyota Prius, however, has a solar roof option that can add power for a vehicle for about 20 miles. Maybe not a giant leap for mankind … but at least a small step towards the complete solar car.
A solar cars offer many advantages. Among them:
* No oil changes
* No developed carbon emmissions
* No emission controls
* NO fossil fuels
The solar car by creating a real potential for the world to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. Many countries offer incentives and financial support to help vehicle manufacturers to move to a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly transport system.
It is all of us, through our purchases and our voice to our representatives in Congress to invest in solar energy. We can make a difference … a solar car at a time.
About the Author
Timothy Peters is passionate about renewable energy and the author. He lives in Spokane, WA and enjoys teaching others how to save money on their utility bill and help the planet through solar energy. To learn more about the solar car, then check out his website at: www.HomeSolarPowerExplained.com
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