Though solar-charged vehicles, such as solar boats, are widespread and commercially available, solar cars have yet to become a practical day-to-day transportation device. These vehicles are primarily manufactured for racing competitions and engineering exercises, and are often sponsored by government agencies.
A solar car works on the same principle as a house powered by solar panels. Photovoltaic cells (made up of semiconductors that absorb the light), which harness the energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, are placed on the car. Some solar cars direct the electricity straight to an electric motor and some use the obtained electricity to fuel a battery that runs the car’s motor. If solar energy is used to power all of the vehicle’s propulsion, that means that the car will continuously run on it and you do not need to spend another penny on fuel.
But still, how can you drive a solar car by night? Solar energy car designers are striving to improve the mileage this transportation device could get, by installing a solar roof that provides electricity for the engine while the sunlight is abundant, but kick it to the battery once it goes down.
One of the major advantages of solar energy cars is that they work silently and produce no noise pollution.
The energy that comes from the sun is free and has unlimited lifespan, but solar panels don’t and they don’t come very cheap. Nevertheless, the prices for solar panels have been declining and as the technology evolves, it will become an affordable technology for almost anyone. Also, the lifespan of a solar module is of approximately 30 years, which is more than enough considering the lifespan of a regular car.
A solar powered car is gasoline independent, thus it will help protect our budget as well as the environment. Driving a regular car is the most air-polluting act, while driving a solar powered car that is very quiet, very low maintenance, has zero harmful emissions and does not need expensive fuels is the best option. Though it will take time until solar energy cars can be used on a large scale, it is still a very promising alternative to regular cars.
As technology advances and improves the performance of solar powered cars, someday soon we may be able to purchase one at the nearest car dealer.