Where are the solar cars? What you need to know

Where are the solar cars What you need to know.jpegsignature1ba3cb7f40fd504ba4cfca1a9cef582c

We talk a lot at SHIFT about product innovation, especially advances in battery chargers, size and range. Battery-powered electric cars are becoming mainstream with strong promises from OEMs to replace ICEs with electricity (and to a lesser extent hydrogen) power vehicles. But there is another type of energy that is even older - solar.

Although supply has undergone a relative shift in photovoltaic development, a full-fledged solar car has yet to hit the market anywhere in the world.

I wanted to find out why, so I decided to do some research.


    What is a solar vehicle?

    First of all, when we talk about solar vehicles, it is crucial to get the classification right.

    They can run smoothly at night or without direct light as they can use their panels to store solar energy in their batteries.

    Erm, so how do solar panels on cars work?

    Let's make it easy.

    Solar panels contain photovoltaic (PV) cells. These PV cells emit light, or photons, and convert it into solar electricity. When sunlight hits the solar panel, PV cells produce direct conventional electricity (DC).

    The electricity from this process is converted to normal voltage by a regulator, then stored in the battery.

    What are the benefits of solar powered cars?

    • Lower electric battery charge charges
    • There are no additional costs of last battery replacement
    • No noise or air pollution
    • Great for drivers traveling short distances in sunny climates
    • Can be charged with cloud cover and directed at night
    • Research on solar photovoltaic innovation is strong and could lead to lighter batteries and more efficient photovoltaic cells.
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    Very well, tell me the bad news

    • Solar panels convert sunlight at around 20-35% efficiency. So you need a hell of a lot to get any real power.
    • Solar panels need to balance efficiency and weight - lighter solar panels are better for cars but may not be as efficient.
    • Highly specialized cars, which make hyperlocal servicing more challenging.
    • While they can work in cloudy areas, they are only fully useful in sunny environments.
    • Lack of real investment by most OEMs who have added so nice to be at the expense of sustainable innovation.

    How is solar energy integrated into sEVan?

    Solar car roofs


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