SOLAR CAR : SOLAR CAR Solar cars : Solar cars Solar cars combine technology typically used in the aerospace, bicycle, alternative energy and automotive industries. The design of a solar vehicle is severely limited by the energy input into the car (batteries and power from the sun). Virtually all solar cars ever built have been for the purpose of solar car races, with notable exceptions that includes solar powered golf cars and utility vehicles.
Like many race cars, the driver's cockpit usually only contains room for one person, although a few cars do contain room for a second passenger. They contain some of the features available to drivers of traditional vehicles such as brakes, accelerator, turn signals, rear view mirrors (or camera), ventilation, and sometimes cruise control. A radio for communication with their support crews is almost always included.
Solar cars are often fitted with gauges as seen in conventional cars. Aside from keeping the car on the road, the driver's main priority is to keep an eye on these gauges to spot possible problems. Cars without gauges almost always feature wireless telemetry, which allows the driver's team to monitor the car's energy consumption, solar energy capture and other parameters and free the driver to concentrate on driving Solar array : Solar array The solar array consists of hundreds of photovoltaic solar cells converting sunlight into electricity. In order to construct an array, PV cells are placed together to form modules which are placed together to form an array. The larger arrays in use can produce over 2 kilowatts (2.6 hp).
The solar array can be mounted in several ways:
horizontal. This most common arrangement gives most overall power during most of the day in low latitudes or higher latitude summers and offers little interaction with the wind. Horizontal arrays can be integrated or be in the form of a free canopy.
vertical. This arrangement is sometimes found in free standing or integrated sails to harness wind energy. Useful solar power is limited to mornings, evenings, or winters and when the vehicle is pointing in the right direction.
adjustable. Free solar arrays can often be tilted around the axis of travel in order to increase power when the sun is low and well to the side. An alternative is to tilt the whole vehicle when parked. Two-axis adjustment is only found on marine vehicles, where the aerodynamic resistance is of less importance than with road vehicles. Slide 4: RACES Solar cars from University of Michigan and University of Minnesota heading west toward the finish line in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge.
Main article: Solar car racing
The two most notable solar car races are the World Solar Challenge and the North American Solar Challenge, overland road rally-style competitions contested by a variety of university and corporate teams.
The World Solar Challenge features a field of competitors from around the world who race to cross the Australian continent, over a distance of 3000 km. The increasingly high speeds of the 2005 race participants has led to the rules being changed for future solar cars starting in the 2007 race.
The North American Solar Challenge, previously known as the 'American Solar Challenge' and 'Sunrayce USA', features mostly collegiate teams racing in timed intervals in the United States and Canada. This race also changed rules for the most recent race due to teams reaching the regulated speed limits. Solar bicycles and motorcycles : Solar bicycles and motorcycles A solar bicycle or tricycle has the advantage of very low weight and can use the riders foot power to supplement the power generated by the solar panel roof. In this way, a comparatively simple and inexpensive vehicle can be driven without the use of any fossil fuels.
Solar photovoltaics assisted electric powered India's first Quadricycle developed since 1996, in Gujarat state's SURAT city.
The first solar "cars" were actually tricycles or quadricycles built with bicycle technology. These were called solarmobiles at the first solar race, the Tour de Sol in Switzerland in 1985 with 72 participants, half using exclusively solar power and half solar-human-powered hybrids. A few true solar bicycles were built, either with a large solar roof, a small rear panel, or a trailer with a solar panel. Later more practical solar bicycles were built with foldable panels to be set up only during parking. Even later the panels were left at home, feeding into the electric mains, and the bicycles charged from the mains. Today highly developed electric bicycles are available and these use so little power that it costs little to buy the equivalent amount of solar electricity. The "solar" has evolved from actual hardware to an indirect accounting system. The same system also works for electric motorcycles, which were also first developed for the Tour de Sol. This is rapidly becoming an era of solar production. Solar ships : Solar ships Main article: Electric boat
Japan's biggest shipping line Nippon Yusen KK and Nippon Oil Corporation said solar panels capable of generating 40 kilowatts of electricity would be placed on top of a 60,213 tonne car carrier ship to be used by Toyota Motor Corporation Solar airplanes : Solar airplanes Main article: Electric aircraft
The longest and highest altitude solar-powered (unmanned) airplane flight in August, 2008 used lithium-sulfur batteries for overnight energy storage. Practical applications : Practical applications Main articles: Electric vehicle conversion and Aftermarket kit
The Venturi Astrolab in 2006 was hailed as the world's first commercial electro-solar hybrid car, and it was originally due to be released in January 2008.
In May 2007 a partnership of Canadian companies lead by Hymotion altered a Toyota Prius to use solar cells to generate up to 240 watts of electrical power in full sunshine. This is reported as permitting up to 15 km extra range on a sunny summer day while using only the electric motors. Solar race car : Solar race car Limitations and challenges : Fitting battery electric vehicles with solar cells would extend their range and allow recharging while parked anywhere in the sun. However, with present and near-term engineering considerations, it seems that the more likely place for solar cells will generally be on the roofs of buildings, where they are always exposed to the sky and weight is largely irrelevant, rather than on vehicle roofs, where size is limited. . Although, saying that, solar cell technology is starting to be used successfully in the powering of electric golf cars and utility vehicles. In the case of both building and vehicles, energy from rooftop panels can be stored in batteries for future use. While some inconveniences might cause challenges, there are limitations to using PV cell Limitations and challenges Plug-in hybrid and solar vehicles : Plug-in hybrid and solar vehicles An interesting variant of the electric vehicle is the triple hybrid vehicle—the PHEV that has solar panels as well to assist.
The 2010 Toyota Prius model will have an option to mount solar panels on the roof. They will power a ventilation system while parked to help provide cooling. An unconfirmed report in January 2009 stated that Toyota is working on an all-solar vehicle