In today’s modern world, where technological advancements incorporated with renewable and sustainable energy are rampant in our society, solar-powered cars are making their way towards the masses. Several car companies have been researching and developing solar-powered cars. This technology will transform and be a huge change in the automotive industry in the near future.
Many questions about this new car technology may come into your mind. And if you want some answers to these questions, this blog will tell you all you need to know about solar-powered cars.
How Do Solar-Powered Cars Work?
If you still do not know about solar cars, solar-powered cars are electric cars that convert energy from the sun into electricity. To do this, they utilize photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells. Solar-powered cars store the converted energy inside car batteries, and these batteries allow the solar cars to still function during nighttime or whenever there is an absence of sunlight.
How much energy the solar car can acquire from the solar panels would initially depend on the weather and the sunlight’s angle that would hit these panels. However, there are still other ways to power up a solar car. Solar-powered cars may also be plugged in when there is an absence of sunlight. And the automotive industry is making the best car battery chargers that solar cars may also use.
As years pass by, solar energy is getting more and more efficient. In the future, when the general public is now allowed to use solar-powered cars, there is a huge possibility that these cars will help lessen pollution and any other environmental problems.
More Information About Solar-Powered Cars
There are several facts about solar cars that you need to know. One of these is the first-ever solar car that General Motors developed.
The “Sunmobile” was the first solar car ever developed. It was invented in 1955 by William G. Cobb, one of the employees of General Motors. The Sunmobile was a prototype car, which was 15-inch long. General Motors made it using 12-selenium photovoltaic cells and a tiny Pooley electric motor. The downside of this solar car is that it is too small that no one can fit and drive around this car.
Aside from the Sunmobile, another solar car is currently being developed. This car is called Sion, a solar-powered car by Sono Motors. According to Sono Motors, Sion is the first-ever hybrid solar-powered car commercially available.
Sion consists of 248 solar cells in its body. Sono Motors claims that this solar car ranges up to 255 kilometers and can charge itself using solar energy.
However, take note that the solar panels on this car only help with the charging of this solar vehicle. You still cannot fully rely on solar panels to have a fully-functioning solar car. Sion still needs to charge at a charging station for up to 80% until it’s ready to function. Sono Motors said that the charging time might last for, more or less, 30 minutes.
Sion solar-powered vehicles may cost around 28,500 dollars. This solar-powered car was already up for reservation starting the year 2021. According to the company, the projected delivery will start from 2022 or 2023.
Can the General Public Buy Solar Powered Cars?
As of now, aside from the Sion solar car, solar-powered cars are still not available in the market. However, the automotive industry is currently making progress in developing these solar cars. In fact, there are already producing prototypes of these solar-powered cars.
Both huge and small car companies are trying to develop solar-powered cars. These companies are Hyundai, Toyota, and other automotive companies who are creating a functioning solar-powered car and hybrid version of this car. Aside from this, companies are also trying to develop several solar car projects that will make car technology more sustainable in the coming years.
Estimates say that the market of solar-powered cars could reach up to 689 billion dollars by 2027. Most car companies are already looking for ways to capitalize on these solar cars and their technology. Some companies think of solar roof panels used to charge the car’s system and battery.
According to experts, solar-powered cars may not just be a fantasy in the technological industry. Many car companies are starting to work on the technology of solar cars, and maybe by the next two years, the world can now have solar-powered cars ready for commercial use.
Why Are Solar-Powered Cars Still Not Commercially Available?
Many automobile companies have not yet developed their fully solar-powered cars, and there are several reasons why solar cars are still not available on the market. The first reason is the solar panel used.
Commercially viable solar panels only have a 20 to 35% efficiency rate. Therefore, automobiles must have a huge space for solar panels or solar cells to have a fully-functioning solar-powered car. However, this enters the problem about the car’s weight and cost.
As you all know, solar panels are heavy and can cost a lot of money. Having many solar panels attached to the car will add weight and cost to the car. However, scientists and engineers are currently working on solar films, which are lighter than solar panels. However, they have lesser efficiency than the panels.
Other environmental factors could affect solar-powered cars, including poor weather conditions. Aside from that, dirt accumulation on the solar panels, driving conditions, and improper positioning of the solar panels may also affect the performance of solar-powered cars.
Moreover, solar-powered cars are not yet commercially available because most car companies try to have eco-friendly cars. Like other vehicles, solar cars also produce carbon footprints. Solar-powered cars are not 100% eco-friendly since their batteries, and solar cells are usually made from minerals mined from Earth.
However, these reasons do not fully prevent car manufacturers from developing solar-powered cars. The automotive industry is currently doing lots of research and development to address these issues about solar cars. In the coming years, this technological innovation will make its way to the market, and in a few years, the general public will now be able to buy solar-powered cars.