Your Questions About Solar Powered Cars

Helen asks…

What's the most earth friendly car on the market today? Also is there any solar powered cars in the works yet?

I think that having solar powered cars would be amazing you hear about people trying to make them possible and then the idea just fades away. I guess that would be a big upset for the gas company's or maybe it's just impossible…. Any why, what is the most earth friendly car on the market right now and what is it powered by?

ssadmin answers:

A problem with solar is the energy conversion is so low that to be affective the cells must be put into huge frames on large land areas. These are solar farms that convert the Sun's energy into electricity.
The most earth friendly vehicle is made in India and are used as delivery trucks. They run on compressed air. Here in the states, a complete electric car that can travel 200 miles on a charge is called a Tesla sports car and costs over $100,000. Here is the problem, it runs quietly and efficiently on electricity but where does this power come from? Much of our electricity comes from heavily polluting coal generators. See the problem?

Carol asks…

How do solar powered cars save money?

how do solar powered cars save money? except for saving money on gasoline, that i got. but i need more ways/reasons on how solar powered cars save money. thanks!

ssadmin answers:

Thats the only way they save money and preserve the nature through not using gas.

Sharon asks…

How do solar powered cars work?

Give me any information you have on solar powered cars and Alternative power scoures at the car dealer ship.

Pls and thank-you!!

ssadmin answers:

You need an electric motor, a good lithium battery pack, solar panels all over the vehicle and sun. This is not cheep and you must reduce weight as much as possible. They take a long time to charge and you don't go fast. If overcast sky's, you don't go far at all. WHY?

Ken asks…

What classes could I take in college to teach me about cars and how to build a solar powered car by myself?

I want to make a solar powered vehicle that looks fashionable but I would only take the classes during the summer and work on the car as a summer project because I'm trying to get into medical school and I need to be devoted to my studies. I think physics would be a good class but what about manufacturing a car. Would I need to go to a trade school?
Any ideas?

ssadmin answers:

Forget about the fashionable part, get it working first. Besides a working model, no matter how klutzy it is, will be attractive for someone. Leave that for the second model.

Use an existing car, something very light. You can buy electric car conversion kits on line. Start with one of those. Then add as much solar cells as can fit on the roof of the car and connect them to the batteries.

You do realize this will not work on cloudy days. Also, the solar array will be a target for theft.

If you are aiming at a manufacturable product, you will need several people at least.

If it's just a hobby, study up on the electronic aspects, batteries, motors, solar cells, computer controllers. The mechanical stuff can be handled by any good car mechanic.

I know a mechanical engineer who built his own electric car. He started with a SAAB sonnet, a small sports car. Put in a lot of lead acid batteries and an electric motor. Took him a year or so. He had help with the electric parts.

Paul asks…

What are the Pros and Cons of Solar Powered Cars?

please tell me the pros and cons of a solar powered car, or maybe some other useful information.
thank you.

ssadmin answers:

As an idea, powering a vehicle from the sun alone presents some obvious advantages:

1. Certainty in your energy source
2. Never having to stop for fuel
3. Unlimited range as long as the sun is shining
4. No need to depend upon other people or organizations
5. It is free
6. It is non polluting in its operation
7. It is a domestic product and therefore does not require overseas military presence, politics, protection, corruption

However in the real world there are drawbacks:
1. The sun's energy is difuse. Currently available panels are only about 10 to 20% efficient and the cost is high compared to other sources. The combined effect makes it difficult to obtain sufficient energy to comptete with other sources. Multiple solar panels concentrate that power but the sun doesn't shine at night, varies seasonally, with weather conditions and the time of day. As solar panels are best when oriented to the sun, panels on a vehicle will always be less efficient than a stationary or heliostat mounted array.
2. The “fuel” will only last as long as the sun is shining with sufficient intensity. For other times, to capture regenerative braking and for times when acceleration might be required some alternative form of energy storage is desirable. Storage options like flywheels, capacitors and batteries are all a technology in progress. Like photovoltaic panels themselves they will someday have far more capacity than they do currently.

Alternative sources of producing and transmitting energy provide some relief and competition. Fuel cell or generator production will add complexity, cost, and weight to a solar vehicle. Transmission to the vehicle from the roadway or from overhead wires would be an expense, but would eliminate the need for solar power on the vehicle in the first place.
3. Sometimes we take our interdependence too lightly. Having a framework of dependence is one form of security.
4. While the power is free the cost of the equipment is currently very high compared to alternatives.
5. There are several concerns when we consider pollution and new technology. Operational pollution is only one aspect. We also have to be concerned with what will happen to the old equipment we are replacing and what is the manufacturing pollution of the new equipment.
6. There are other domestic options that are more economical feasible than solar power on a vehicle. The nearest currently workable alternative, for anything other than ultra light vehicles, might be a system with fixed solar panels and a battery electric vehicle.

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