People are rightly skeptical of solar-electric vehicles. Getting electricity from the sun is a great thing for both the environment and the wallet, but it’s not known for being light and compact enough to be worth putting on vehicles. Conventional wisdom tells us that solar is something that lives on your roof, or out in a big field. There just wasn’t enough room to get much power, and a bigger system would involve raising the price of the car anyway.
According to CleanTechnica, for these reasons, the only onboard solar vehicles we hear of now are university projects, racing experiments, and concepts from niche startups. People have driven across great distances in solar cars, and even race them, but they’re often designed to carry just one person and little or no cargo.
Electric vehicles were once in the same spot. Only a decade or two ago, you’d have to choose between having short-range or paying big bucks for batteries. A few experimenters would build EVs to go short distances, and manufacturers weren’t that far ahead of the home tinkerers. The technology just wasn’t as mature as it is now.
As it improved and prices fell, EVs became more affordable and more capable, and are now poised to start outperforming combustion vehicles in almost every way. Just like battery technology, solar cells have continued to improve, and we are starting to see practical solar vehicles emerge.
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Date: Jul 17, 2019 @ 09:20
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