Your Questions About Solar Powered Cars

Steven asks…

Why aret any car companies making solor powered cars?

With the gas prices getting out of control, why havent they made a solar powered car yet? We should be able to utilize the suns power for vehicles, they do it for houses.

ssadmin answers:

Well you bring up an interesting point, I think the best answer to that is….it is too expensive. Phototronic cells (what solar panels use) are very expensive and do not have a long life. However, if you are interested in alternative fuels for motor vehicles consider biodiesel or ethanol. They are the two up and coming green fuels. E85, an ethanol is widely used in Brazil, in fact, they are oil indepent. It is derived from sugar cane and put through a fermenting process. Many of New York State transportation vehicles in the Highway Department use this. Also being considered for use to create ethanol is corn and a praire-grass called switchgrass. (For information in the scientific advances google URI and switch-grass) Switchgrass is great because it has a high density of organic matter per acre (more tons per acre = more fuel per acre) as compared to many other sources. The greatest benefit to ethanol is it can be used in gasoline-vehicles. No conversion! Yeah! Another alternative fuel is bio-diesel (see Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow's buses!) which uses oil wastes in diesel engines. From my understanding converting a diesel car or truck to bio-diesel is very simple and inexpensive. The oil does need to go through a refining process and it is difficult to find a fueling station. (I suggest a establish a Co-op and ordering in large quanities with members all contributing). Another aspect of bio-diesel to consider is that you do still need gasoline to initially start the vehicle and heat the oil before switching to the oil and you have to switch back to gas before turning the engine off otherwise the oil will ruin your engine. Both of these fuels are comparatively inexpensive to gasoline and diminish emissions.

Lizzie asks…

When cars are solar-powered, how will car chases end?

ssadmin answers:

Just like in the old western movies. Better get out of town by sundown.

Lisa asks…

Can any car become an electrictric/solar powered car by conversion?

Some day I hope to do my bit for the plane by installing solar panels on my house and getting an electric car.

I hear that conversion car kits are already available. What parts of the standard car are replaced? How much do they cost? What about insurance?

NO JOKES PLEASE, only sincere replies.

ssadmin answers:

The motor is replaced. Batteries and electronic controls are added. The batteries take up a lot of space, because the car was not designed for them

The process is very expensive, and the result not all that great as a car, for anything except carrying a few people short distances. You would do much better to buy a modern car that gets high gas mileage. Good for the planet, good for you. Someday you'll be able to buy a cheap and functional electric car, but we're not there yet.

Helen asks…

What would the savings be between a solar powered car and a gas powered car?

help project

ssadmin answers:

You'ld save on gas, but solar vehicles cant go as far. Also, they loose safety b/c they have to be so light. They also can not go very fast. Also, the panels are very expensive to replace. Very expensive.
I would say not much.

Linda asks…

What are the benefits of having a solar powered car? And what are the drawbacks?

help me…please…no sites please…
oh yeah, nd i aint doin this for fun, im doin a science project of making a solar powered car :]
nd im just in 6th grade

ssadmin answers:

This is an odd question, because there are no commercially available solar-powered cars. If you're talking about an electric car, that's a different matter entirely. An electric car that needs to be plugged in to a charging station, could conceivably be thought of as solar-powered if the charging station gets its energy from the Sun, but really, an electric car doesn't care where the electricity is coming from.

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