Your Questions About Solar Powered Cars

Paul asks…

Why aren't there any solar powered cars?

We have cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf coming out where you can go miles without using any gas. Why aren't they coming out with solar vehicles?

ssadmin answers:

Solar (and wind) technology is not nearly as mature as certain segments of society would like you to believe.

Especially when it comes to cars, considering that they must weigh enough to be strong enough to survive a crash with a non-solar vehicle, which won't, in the foreseeable future, allow solar to have a chance in the application you talk about. A 4×8 panel of solar cells would allow a vehicle to go about 32 miles on a full days charge, assuming no cloud cover.

George asks…

solar powered cars… anyone have information?

im doing a science project on solar powered cars. whats some good websites that have good information?
thanks!

ssadmin answers:

Dear Ilove,
I don't know of any good websites, but
I know a little about solar cars. A car that
runs strictly on solar power won't work because
there is not enough energy in the sunlight
that hits the car. A better idea is a battery
powered car that recharges from solar cells on
the roof. Drive it to work or school and it sits
there all day and recharges. Then drive it home
and plug it in. The solar cells on your barn roof
keeps your house's battery charged so you
always have some electricity. For long range
you are mucked, but for forty miles or so you
are fine.

Robert asks…

Solar powered cars?

I have to do a 1 page report on solar powered cars, so I was wondering if someone can give me some quick easy facts about solar powered cars, or a good website to research them.

ssadmin answers:

Why is it that a kid who can use Y!A can't manage to Google? Ah, sheer laziness!
Well, if this site won't do it, you'll need to actually look up something on your own — gasp!
Http://www.unisa.edu.au/solarcar/Solarcars/default.asp

Laura asks…

Is it possible for a solar powered car to exist?

I was looking at a calculator that was solar powered the other day and I wondered why cant there be a car that is solar powered. I know that since it is solar powered the energy obviously has to come from the Sun so I thought why not only put the cars where it is always sunny. the solar panels could go on the roof.

ssadmin answers:

No. At least not without a major break through.

A car, even with solar panels on the roof, hood and trunk would not have enough surface area to get enough sunlight to make the car run. Solar panels are just not that efficient, and work best in direct sunlight and in most places that is only for a couple hours a day(10am to 2pm). And you would need to keep the panels clean, and cars get dirty fast. And replace them often.

And there is the battery problem. The car would need a huge battery, that was very heavy. And the heaver the car, the more energy it takes to move the car. And a car alone is heavy, as it needs to stay on the road and not fly off the ground. And a battery loses power at night, even more so in the cold, so chances are the car would not start in the morning.

Jenny asks…

Solar powered cars etc.?

why doesnt the u.s start making solar powered cars (or atleast making much more than gas powered cars) like Sweden does? wouldnt that save you more money on gas? i dont understand…

ssadmin answers:

Electrical cars have been practical and affordable for at least fifteen years in the US. But with lobbying from the rich oil companies, laws and car manufacturers have not had any incentive to work towards them. Ford and Chevy tried, and couldn't make the marketing work to get enough people to buy them. Only with gas prices rising in the US have hybrids even started being fashionable.

Solar cars are not yet practical, in most parts of the US, because of the limited efficiency of solar panels and the fact that many parts of the country do not have that many sunny days per year. It doesn't suit the average commuter if they can't get to work because it is raining.

However, if people really started using electric cars, solar powered recharging stations could be added in many parts of the country where feasible. This leaves other forms of electric power production as the source where solar is not as useful.

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