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Future Solar Cars

Future solar cars will solve many of our transportation and environmental problems. Forget battery electric vehicles and hydrogen cars which will be transitional technology. Future solar cars will one day be mainstream.

Future Solar Cars

To understand the future of solar cars let's first take a short journey into the past. The first solar car was invented by William G. Cobb of General Motors in 1955 and it was a tiny little version of an automobile at that.

Since this time solar cars have not developed as quickly as other kinds of automobiles. For instance, hydrogen fuel cell cars were introduced in the mid 1960's and now some of these H2 cars are in limited production status.

For the solar car it's been a more grueling race to the mainstream. Venues such as the World Solar Challenge or the North American Solar Challenge have been testing these vehicles for endurance and speed but they are still not up to par with consumer standards.

The Venturi Astrolab solar-electric hybrid vehicle was introduced back in 2006, as the first commercially available photovoltaic car that could travel around 74 mph with a range of about 68 miles (pictured). As you can see most of the top of the vehicle is covered with solar cells.

But, Venturi Astrolab will end up in a museum, perhaps in France or Smithsonian if they will have it. Future solar cars will not have to have wall-to-wall solar panels in order to work (they won't be well-to-wheel cars either as are fossil fuel burners).

No, the solar cars of the future will have small solar panels on the hood, roof and trunk area. Because of nanotechnology and breakthroughs in solar and energy storage technology, photovoltaic will be miniaturized without giving up power.

Now, in the future just as right now, solar panels won't work well at night. This is why breakthroughs in either battery technology or fuel cell technology will also need to happen concurrently in order to store the photovoltaic energy accumulated in the day to be used for night cruising.

Exciting technology is happening right now with zinc that may just replace platinum in fuel cells and lithium in batteries. Future solar cars will have downsized solar panels as well as downsized storage devices plus plenty of legroom.

Gone will be the days of name-calling over those who drive SUVs versus those who drive subcompact cars for the good of the environment. All sizes, shapea and configurations of solar cars will be available in the future.

In fact, when ground-bound solar cars are being perfected, prototype solar flying cars will be being tested. Light solar-powered aircraft will also not be far off. Solar-powered fishing boats and other small craft will also grace the waters.

Not everyone will be around to see how the technology plays out in the years to come. But, be assured that solar cars are not going away, and in fact, may take over as the vehicles of choice in the future.


Written by Kevin Lepton