Sioux Falls, South Dakota (WiredPRNews.com) — Sleek sports cars powered by solar energy always make heads turn cruising around the North American Solar Challenge but are too costly to be seen in local car dealers’ showrooms in the near future. Still, solar cars play an important role in foreseeing a transportation system less dependent upon oil. Dan Eberle, the Director of the race, says that the cars featured are electric cars although they are the super-efficient versions which tap into the sun’s power.
The modern technology used in the batteries, motors, electronics and control systems can find their routes into a fully electronic hybrid commuter vehicle. Eberle says that the solar panels are placed at work or at home and not on the cars. All the consumers have to do is drive up and charge the car by plugging in.
The Solar Challenge of North America, last held in 2005, aims at promoting renewable and solar technologies. Last Sunday, 15 racing teams started out in Texas and are expected to arrive in Calgary today.
SolarWorld 1, a team from the Hochschule Bochum University in Germany, weighs 450 pounds with a cost of about $750,000 and is able to speed up to 80 miles an hour,however racers need to obey local traffic rules along the route that is mostly rural. Each of the drivers are accompanied by two pit-crew vans carrying engineers who monitor the statistics cadre.
Teams have been constantly working to improve the effectiveness of solar arrays, power converters, motors and batteries. One of the team members of SolarWorld 1 said that the most significant aspect of a solar car is the aerodynamics involved in it. He said that the users can also connect an iPod with it, it will fade out or dim out when you or somebody else talks and all this is integrated into helmet of the driver.