Your Questions About Solar Powered Cars

Lisa asks…

Solar Powered Cars.?

What effect will having solar powered cars rather then petrol cars?

ssadmin answers:

There is a lot of hype about how much solar energy hits the earth a year. But if broken down it is only about 200w/square foot per hour. Even if you could have 100% efficiency it would take 6 square feet of solar cells to power one hair dryer. Yikes! A 10'x20′ car with 33% windows would have about 132 square feet of surface you could cover with cells. With 746watts to each horsepower even at 100% efficiency that is about 32 horse power. That is about half the horse power of a brand new Ford Festive. That is if solar cells were 100 efficient. The reality is about 12% efficient. That means a 4 horsepower car. That would be about half the power of a motor scooter pushing a full sized car frame.

Sandra asks…

Curious about solar powered cars?

I have been wondering for a few weeks off and on about solar powered cars. How come we dont have them yet? So far the only thing i have seen solar powered on a car is the air conditioner and as great as it is im not too impressed.. this has stemmed off from solar powered cars to alt fuels to why we still rely on fossil fuels so badly when the offshore drillings slowly killing our oceans and animals in those oceans who rely on it to be clean for them to live in.. which went to nuclear power plants STILL in existence.. these will put us in so much danger its inconceivable the impact it would have if something were to go terribly wrong.. which.. never drop your guard.. it could always happen .. has no one else heard of the giant chernobyl accident? Use windwills.. something other than what we use now.. We could be so much more energy efficient without killing the planet of people animals plants and what have you and yet we do nothing about it..

blah anyways off topic there.. but yes.. why do we not have solar powered cars.. with all the major bankruptcy going on i think they could find a good way to fix that and at the same time help the environment.. sadly im sure they would overprice the living crap out of them.. its always money before anything else with the bald heads..

i would like to know anyone elses opinions about this topic..

thanks a bunch

environmentalist pook 😛
im sure this questions been asked a lot in this part of the forum.. sorry if it happens often

ssadmin answers:

Solar power is not efficient enough to directly power a car (Especially if raining or overcast all day). In Australia, and other places there are solar powered auto races but all the “cars” are not much more than slow moving 3 wheeled bicycles with flat tops covered with solar cells. They only carry one lightweight person. Large utility sized solar plants are planned for the southwestern part of the US. But we don't yet have the battery technology to store this solar energy and move it around with us in a car.
Hoi yik also asked this question a few minutes ago. My answer to him was: People want to travel more than the 40 miles on batteries today's affordable electric cars can give (read up on Chevy's Volt, it only goes 40 miles before the gas engine kicks in). Tesla Motors has an electric car that runs on lithium metal oxide batteries, and the car can go one to two hundred miles before it needs a charge (problem – how long to recharge it), BUT the car cost over $100,000. Not affordable to most people.
Check out the web sites: http://earth2tech.com/2009/03/26/zenn-mo… And zenncars.com. The hope to soon sell a car that goes 500 miles on a 5 minute charge, and be affordable. EEstor's combined battery/ultracapacitor does not seem to be ready (or they don't have the money to ramp up production) yet. EEstor isn't saying much. PS The “special equipment” need to recharge these batteries will be very easy to install in current gas stations, office parking lots, etc.
PS: Besides the Russians, nobody uses the type of reactor used to build Chernobyl. And even their similar reactors have been improved upon safety wise. Since the last reactor was built, technology has greatly improved.
And with desert solar power plants, people are against them because the turtles in the desert have survived in the sunlight for thousands of years. The environmentalists are afraid of what the effect of shade from the solar collectors will have on the desert life.
Todays wind mills (vertical, large slow moving blades) may not kill as many birds, but they still cause a decrease in air pressure which destroys the lungs (and kills) insect eating bats.
Millions of dollars have been spend on improving the safety of nuke plants and oil wells. When was the last time you read about a massive oil spill from an offshore well? They are all from old ships used to transport oil around the world.
So now, who can say one energy production method is safer than another?

Jenny asks…

When will we see solar-powered cars going mainstream in USA?

ssadmin answers:

Who cares they already have them maybe they could make them look nice with a wind sail too

Susan asks…

an idea on how to make solar powered cars, please READ, give insight!?

-make solar panels along the middle of highways, and have a special solar magnet installed in the car that can suck in the energy while one is driving.
-make solar panels underneath the roads, and put holes in the roads so that the cars can suck in the solar energy as they drive, because we cant drive just on solar panels, they will break.

-oh ya, solar powered houses are now generating more energy than they need, and im sure that a car doesnt need as much energy as a house;a fully solar powered house costs 5 thousand dollars, one solar panel is $500 each, im sure car prices wont go too high, and it is well worth it for the ecosystem and the economy
and solar paneled houses have a energy back up system, which the car can have for nighttime driving

ssadmin answers:

Sounds like a great idea. But the road solar panels might be too expensive. I don't think the government is ready to spend a vast amount of money for that. I mean, we're in debt to begin with. Not only that, but the holes might collect debris, dust, and rain. So that can become a big issue. Let's not forget about the gas companies. They won't get enough profit if this does happen, causing them to shut down; and I think the US won't let that happen. They would most likely to back up the gas AND oil companies here in America.

As for the solar houses, great idea. That is actually happening. I remember watching the news and a guy has installed solar panels on his roof. He also has a solar-powered car. And that' great for him and the environment. But like you mention, it's a lot of money.

Your first idea sounds great, but it's impossible. I think that won't happen in our life time. I hope I'm wrong, but who knows. We can only try our best to live in a better financial state and environment.

Carol asks…

What ever happened to solar powered panels?

I thought they were going to make solar powered cars and solar power plants among other things. It was only nearly 10 years ago that solar power was the big thing. Just curious, why did it die out?

ssadmin answers:

The technology did not die out. It is in fact quite alive and well, and there exist many different manufacturers of solar panels and devices utilizing them.

The problem is that the technology has not yet advanced sufficiently to generate large amounts of power with solar panels, at least not with panels of any practical size and weight. You can easily buy a panel which will trickle-charge your car's battery during the day, but nothing that can generate anywhere near the power required to actually move a car's mass at any significant speed. You would need to buy panels with a very large surface area to make any significant amount of power, and these panels would be very heavy and very expensive.

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