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Directory:Solar Vehicles

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Directory of vehicles powered by solar energy.

Contents

About

  • Solar Vehicle History - July 2007 marks the 24th anniversary since Joel Davidson and Greg Johanson set The First Guinness World Record for a 100% solar powered vehicle (no batteries). In 1986, the vehicle was retired and taken apart, but the solar array is still producing electricity for an off-grid home.

Vehicles

Aircraft

  • Flight / Solar > Applications > Vehicles >
    Zephyr Solar Plane Completes 10x Longest Unmanned Flight Ever - The Zephyr solar plane has officially broken the endurance record for an unmanned aircraft by flying for a whopping two weeks above an Arizona army range. The photovoltaic-powered Zephyr, which touched down on Friday, handily beat the previous world record of 30 hours with a new record of 336 hours! (Inhabitat; July 26, 2010)
  • Solar-Powered Turtle Airships - To a shell of aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel around a helium-filled inner skin, Darrell Campbell envisages depositing amorphous thin film photovoltaic cells to drive motors that used super-conducting magnets in lieu of copper wire. Biodiesel generators would provide back-up power. (TreeHugger; Oct. 26, 2007)
  • Solar Flight - SUNSEEKER, a manned solar powered aircraft, has an electric motor, planetary gearbox, a folding propeller and 40 lbs of Lithium batteries installed in the wings. It was flown from Ramona to Tehachapi and back, over the Mojave Desert, San Gabriel mountains, Ontario, and Lake Elsinore. Flight time on the return was less than 3.5 hours.
  • Round-the-world solar plane debut - Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, who made history in 1999 by circling the globe non-stop in a balloon, has unveiled a prototype of the solar-powered plane he hopes to fly around the world in 2012, using super-efficient solar cells, batteries, motors, propellers, and a wingspan the size of a Airbus 340 to get it through the dark hours. (BBC; June 26, 2009)
  • A Solar Race Around the World - In Switzerland, two teams are vying to be the first to circle the globe in a solar powered vehicle--one team in a boat (PlanetSolar), the other in an airplane (Solar Impulse), capable of taking off under its own power and flying all night. (Slashdot; May 12, 2006)

Bikes

  • Solar Electric Bicycle Project - The addition of a 12v 500Ma (5w) solar panel with a 1 amp inline fuse connected was all that was needed to charge this bikes' battery. If on a cloudy day more charging power is needed, hook the battery to the 100w wind generator.
  • E-Bike - Just solar energy is enough - In the recent Trade Fair held in China a solar powered E-Bike was spotted. The pinion seat has been replaced by a Solar Panel Array and the two panels fold down once the carrier comes into motion. (EcoFriend; Jan. 22, 2008)
  • Thera-P-Products - The E-V Sunny Bicycle is the first all solar electric bicycle driven completely from power derived from the sun’s rays. It has solar panels built right into the wheels, maintaining a constant charge to the batteries. The bike is propelled by a 500 watt front hub motor that drives the bike to speeds up to 30 km/hr.
  • Hyperbike - New opportunities arise from new efficient and lightweight electric machines, inverters (buck-boost) and high power and high energy densities with double layer capacitators and Li-Ion (Polymer) batteries. The video features the show bike, where the solar panel charges the supercaps.

Boats, Yachts and Ocean-going vessels

  • transatlantic21 - "sun21" is a 14-meter-long electric catamaran powered exclusively by solar energy that will undertake the first motorized crossing of the Atlantic without using a drop of gasoline. It will leave Spain the end of November 2006 and is due to arrive in New York in May 2007.
  • Solar-powered 42-passenger boat - The SolarShuttle solar powered electric boat, designed by SolarLab, is entirely pollution-free and silent running. It can carry 42 passengers in all daylight conditions, has reserve power for night-time running and even generates surplus energy that can be fed back into the national grid. (Gizmag; Mar. 17, 2007)
  • MW-Line - The Aquabus 1050 electrosolar boat can transport 24 passengers on lakes and rivers or up to 5 km offshore in silence, cleanliness and comfort. It is equipped with electrical propulsion and modern solar panels to provide operating costs that are 40 times less than with a Diesel engine.
  • Solar Sailor - Hybrid marine power combines conventional engines with Solar Wing technology utilising solar & wind energy. Depending on weather conditions, these two sources are used simultaneously or singularly. Fuel consumption and emissions are reduced by nearly 50%.
  • Solemar - Passengers' ships and pleasure boats exclusively powered by solar energy.
  • Solar Nautic - The 8.40 m solar-powered house boat is driven by an electric motor and a complete on-board solar set, becoming energy independent.
  • Sunboat.com - Electric boats are quiet, reliable, and easy to operate. They're great fun, cost almost nothing to run, and are pollution free, taking their energy from the sun.

Buses

Cars

  • Swedish Solar Car Runs on Fool's Gold - Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg brought a model of its solar-electric Quant concept car to the Geneva Motor Show, claiming it will have a range of 300 miles and a recharge time of less than 20 minutes using Pyradian solar cells from NLV Solar. (Wired; March 5, 2009)
  • Eco Cars: MIT’s Eleanor solar-powered car does 90 mph - The oldest solar electric student team in America, MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team, has unveiled their next-gen solar car known as the “Eleanor.” Costing a whopping $243,000, the solar car will compete in the tenth World Solar Challenge, an endurance race covering nearly 2000 miles of Australian outback. (EcoGeek; Feb. 28, 2009)
  • Solar Hybrids Soak Up the Sun - Johanson and the guys at Solar Electrical Vehicles will slap a solar panel on just about anything, and they've developed a DIY kit for the Toyota Prius that he says provides up to 20 miles of range and boosts fuel economy up to 29 percent. The company is testing its first solar energy system exclusively for hybrids in four "PV Prius" prototypes and a "PV Highlander." Video (Wired; Dec. 16, 2008)
  • OS / Solar > Vehicles >
    Solar-electric car generates power and excitement - Kyle Dansie has distilled his solar-technology expertise into an open source website, ZEVUtah.com. The vehicle cost about $11,000 and is powered by 6 solar panels, 5 in a garage and one on the car's roof. It can go up to 75 mpg, and travel about 50 miles on a full charge that takes 3-4 hours. (Video) (Salt Lake Tribune; Oct. 2, 2008)
  • Solar > Vehicles >
    Samsung Solorean Solar Car (2-part video) - The University of Texas' solar "raycer" features National Instruments' CompactRIO real-time programmable automation controller, making the Samsung Solorean one of the most sophisticated electrical systems in solar car "raycing". (Engineering TV; Sept. 9, 2008)
  • Solar Car Finishes Round the World Journey - Louis Palmer, a teacher and "adventurer" has been on the road for 17 months, went through 38 countries and clocked 32,000 miles, all "without a drop of petrol". He's also given rides to over 1,000 people in his quest to familiarize the folk and the famous with the benefits of solar power. (Green Daily; Jan. 4, 2009)
    • UN chief commutes to work aboard solar-powered taxi -The Solartaxi, the brainchild of 37-year-old Swiss engineer Louis Palmer, is currently in New York as part of a worldwide tour that included a stop in Bali, Indonesia, last December for the landmark climate change conference. (Yahoo News; Sept 1, 2008)
    • Solar taxi trying to circle the globe - Solartaxi is a sun-fueled vehicle that set out from Switzerland to circumnavigate the globe. The three-wheeled, two-seater tows a trailer with extra solar panels bringing the total cell area up to 65 sq. ft. Now in Bali for the UN climate conference, it will be in the U.S. in 2008. (AutoblogGreen; Dec. 6, 2007)
  • Sunmotor Group's Solar Vehicles - Sunmotor Coupe is a green vehicle, powered by solar energy and electricity. PV panels of a Sunmotor Coupe generates more than 300 W electric power output; has a range of 160 miles (250 km) for DX model, or 400 miles (650 km) for EX model. Introduction expected this year.
  • Hot New Solar Hybrid by Mindset AG - The Swiss company Mindset AG has announced that it is planning to produce an ultra-lightweight hybrid vehicle with roof-mounted solar panels. The hybrid coupe, dubbed Six50, is the work of former VW head of design Murat Günak. (Inhabitat; July 8, 2008)


  • Venturi Automobiles - 2-seater tandem electro-solar Astrolab vehicle uses photovoltaic cells covered by a film of nano-prisms concentrating solar energy to recharge NiMH batteries. It has a range of 110 km and a top speed of 120 km/hr. Solar recharging provides a daily range of 18 km or it can be recharged from the grid in 5 hours. First delivery is scheduled for January 2008.
  • Spirit One – Brooks, Alberta, Canada Solar-powered Electric car with no range limit. They plan to accomplish this by using solar panels to keep the batteries perpetually charged.
  • Cambridge University Eco Racing solar car drive across Britain - On 8 June, 2008 Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) "Affinity" embarked on the first solar-powered, street-legal journey from Land's End to John O'Groats: the 934-mile 'End to End trip' with a top speed of around 50-60 MPH. (Physorg; June 11, 2008)
  • Solar car could hit market soon - A compact solar-powered vehicle developed in Taiwan could be on the market within a year. The 250kg two-seater travels at up to 70kph, can be charged with just a few hours sunlight and can power the car for three hours. It is half the weight and costs half the price of solar-powered city roamers on some European markets. (Taipei Times; Dec. 30, 2007)


  • SunVee Solar Utility Neighborhood Vehicle - The Sunmobile is based on a four-wheeled pedalling "bike", called a Rhoades Car, converted into a solar electric powered vehicle. It is charged with the photovoltaic panels mounted as a roof canopy/sun shade, will travel at up to 30 mph, and has a range of up to 30 miles.
  • Standard Auto Converted to Solar - A group in Japan has developed a conversion package to transform a Mazda Roadster into a solar powered vehicle. They remove the engine and gas tank, replace them with a battery and an electric motor and place solar panels across the hood. It can go 19 miles at up to 62 MPH with a fuel savings of roughly $1,600 per year. (PhysOrg; Nov. 1, 2007)
  • Solar Electrical Vehicles - With the SEV rooftop solar charging system and supplemental battery, the Toyota Prius can operate up to 20 miles per day in electric mode. It provides up to 29% improved fuel economy depending on driving habits, road speed and conditions, and doesn't require plugging in for charging.
  • Venturi Automobiles - Features three electric models, including the Eclectic -- an urban 3-seater electro-solar or wind vehicle is the first production energy-autonomous vehicle in history. Eclectic takes advantage of moments of immobilisation to store energy in its NiMH batteries. It offers a range up to 50 km at a speed of 50 km/hr and can also be recharged from the grid in 5 hours. Production of 20 vehicles has commenced and 200 will be launched in June 2007.
  • ZAP solar electric Xebra Xero - ZAP has designed a solar option for the three-wheeled electric Xebra Xero - a photovoltaic panel that ZAP says can offer short-distance driving on sunlight alone. The Xebra is a city car, available as a 4-door sedan or 2-passenger truck, for city driving up to 40 mph and will cost about US$12,000 with the Xero Solar Panel Option. (Gizmag; Mar. 7, 2007)
  • New World Record at Solar Drag Race - The South Whidbey Team dragster set a new world record of 29.5 seconds for the quarter-kilometer distance at the third annual Solar Drag Race in Wenatchee, Washington. Vehicles participating in the Solar Drag Race can only use solar panels for power—no batteries or pre-charged devices are allowed. (Green Car Congress; Jun. 25, 2007)
  • Solar Electric Hybrid Prototype - The UltraCommuter is an ultra-light weight, low drag, hybrid-electric commuter vehicle that combines photovoltaic recharging and grid recharging with a CNG-fueled range-extending generator. Solar panels provide 87% of the car's total power needs.
  • Fosh Automotive - We wanted to create a vehicle that you didn't have to plug in all the time, basically we wanted a vehicle that you could just get in and drive. Nanoantennas came to our rescue. Our double-sided nanoantennas target mid-infrared rays and don't need visible light like traditional solar cells do. The EVT-3 also utilizes regenerative braking and does offer a plug-in option, for abnormal and emergency situations. Basically, we have created a car that will continue to collect and convert energy to constantly charge your battery pack.

Carts

  • Cruise Car Electric Cars - Garry Reid from Florida's Cruise Car Inc. talks about the Kudo and Sunray vehicles in their solar-powered line-up. Cruise Cars, with more than 50 models to choose from on four continents, can be made street-legal in most US states and driven on roads with speeds posted 35 mph or lower. (EngineeringTV; June 8, 2009)
  • Golf Cart Solar Roof Panel Kit - A photovoltaic roof allows the golf cart to go one mile for every 1.68 hours in peak sun. Affordable way to convert your Club or E-Z-GO golf cart. (Frugal Dougal's Golf Cart Accessories; May 30, 2008)
  • Solar Electric Cars Invade Hollywood - Cruise Car, which bills itself as the only company mass producing solar-electric cars, hopes to change that perception of Tinseltown with some help from Universal Studios, which will convert its entire fleet of 300 fossil-fuel burning, carbon-spewing vehicles to EVs. (Wired; Jan. 7, 2009)
  • Convert A Golf Cart To Solar Power - Cruise Car has a new product called the Sunray Solar Roof Kit, which will allow most golf carts to become solar powered vehicles. It increases the distance the cart can go on a single charge by 30%. Cruise Car also sells solar-powered small vehicles. (MetaEfficient)
  • Solamo - Solarmobil is a standard golfcar converted to run on solar energy from overhead PV panels that is stored in batteries, so you only have to recharge from a socket in emergencies. It can be street legal in some areas if speed-limited.

Offroad

  • The Solar winged Helios Vehicle - Kim Gu-Han’s Helios concept car resembles some sort of frill necked lizard. The electric off-road vehicle has the unique ability to spread its solar panel wings to soak up the sun’s energy. While in motion, the Helios is a sleek electric vehicle that is powered by solar energy, and when at rest it deploys a rather cool-looking fan that can absorb and store energy to power your house. (Inhabitat; Nov. 11, 2008)
  • American Electric Vehicles - High performance off road vehicles developed for the military are now available for commercial sale. These vehicles feature high performace, large lithium-polymer battery packs and have a high performance motor. Rugged solar panels, with full recharge in 5 days. Machine guns not available.

Offworld

  • Solar Plane to Fly Continuously Around Mars - Scientists believe that Sky-Sailor will reach the inner orbit of Mars within a decade or two. In 2005 a prototype achieved a continuous flight time of five hours, with a 24-hour flight test planned for the summer of 2007. With a lithium-ion polymer battery the plane can fly all night and during cloudy or foggy conditions, all on solar power. (PhysOrg; Mar. 14, 2007)

Scooters and Trikes

  • Solar Trikey Makes Us Say Crikey - "On the flat with no wind, the motor will drive the outfit to 24 km/h. The motor has sufficient capacity to enable me to ride up the hill one or even two gears higher than I normally do". The Australian tinkerer Joe Blake's spent 15 years building the solar-electric trike. (Wired; Sept. 1, 2008)
  • Grassroots Electric Vehicles - Solar Cycle is licensed as a motorcycle with three wheels. It seats two comfortably and has room in the back for provisions. It uses a 9' pancake motor, ultra light aluminum and plastic frame and body, and goes 0 to 60 in under 10 seconds.
  • Greenhouse 2000 SolarCycle - Orlando, Florida, USA A 3-wheeled, lightweight solar, enclosed, air conditioned motorcycle that is already street legal.
  • Don's Solar Scooter - Here are a set of plans for a street legal, affordable, and dependable solar powered scooter from Don Dunklee. The PV panels fold in for driving, and out for charging. Don rides the scooter 5 miles to work each day, and can fold the panels out for charging the battery while parked at work. (Build It Solar)
  • Solar Trike - The Sun-E-Trike solar powered recumbant bike is a low cost alternative to an automobile that is fun and easy to ride, street legal, and no license is required. It goes 13 to 32 mph with a 10 to 25 mile range and under average use is maintenance free.

Tractors

  • Solar-electric Mowers & Tractors - A farmer has converted six farm tractors to run on rechargeable batteries and electric motors, rather than a gas or diesel engine. Some carry their own power source: a canopy of solar panels suspended over the machine. They generate less than a kilowatt, but for planting and harvesting, that’s enough to run the tractor. (Mother Earth News; Aug/Sep 2006)

Trucks and Vans

  • Solar Van - Bedford Rascal van with a blown engine was converted to electric motor with Li-ion batteries. Rooftop solar PV panels provide 10% of the daily energy and a stowable wind turbine could make the vehicle energy independent on a sunny but windy day. Maximum speed is 50 mph and range is 75 miles.

Underwater

Trains

  • Solar > Vehicles >
    Plans to build Arizona bullet train fired by the sun - Solar Bullet LLC is developing a bullet train that will be powered by the sun. At 220mph the train could travel from Tucson to Phoenix in just 30 minutes. The system would need 110 megawatts of electricity to run, generated by solar panels mounted above the tracks, and is slated for operation beginning in 2018. (GizMag; May 26, 2009)

Plans and Kits

  • SolarVehicles.org - Free plans for building a solar powered electric vehicle with a top speed of 25 to 40 km/h, made possible by recent advances in solar modules, batteries and magnetic drives. Parts source list included. See also UprightSolar.


  • Solatec - Rooftop-mounted, flexible Solar Photovoltaic Panel Kit.
  • Kevin's Solar Electric Bike - Kevin built his own electric solar-cycle with a layout he haven't seen before, the solar panels double up as mud guards, and he has made my own battery packs using 13ah ni-mh cells. He reckons it does 12 miles WITHOUT pedaling.

Research and Development

  • Samsung Solorean Solar Car - In this 2-part video, Chak Man Yeung from NI Week, "Sunny" digs deeper into the University of Texas' solar "raycer". Featuring the National Instruments CompactRIO real-time programmable automation controller, the Samsung Solorean features one of the most sophisticated electrical systems in solar car "raycing". (Engineering TV; Sept. 9, 2008)
  • Does Car-Mounted Solar Make Sense? - most onboard solar systems to date have cost several thousand dollars while generating less than 100 watts of energy, improving a vehicle's fuel efficiency by just a few percent. "I think it's more a marketing gimmick," says Andrew Frank, a plug-in hybrid pioneer at the University of California, Davis, and chief technology officer for UC-Davis hybrid-vehicle spinoff Efficient Drivetrains. "It takes kilowatts to really drive the car." (Technology review; July 14, 2008)

See also

SOLAR GENERAL:

SOLAR MODALITIES:

SOLAR INFRASTRUCTURE

SOLAR APPLICATIONS:

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