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Solar Car

A solar car is really nothing more than an electric vehicle that derives its electricity from solar panels attached to the car rather than deriving electricity from the grid. Solar cars are, in general, built to be incredibly light and, with very few exceptions, are used for research and demonstration. Many of these solar vehicles are maintained by universities and are built using both public and private research funding. There are no commercially available solar cars on the market.

One of the biggest differences between solar cars and other electric vehicles is batteries. Electric cars carry large batteries that store electricity for use. They are capable of traveling anywhere between 40 and ~300 miles using electricity from their batteries. In the interest of weight, solar cars generally have only a very small battery to supply enough power to move the car off the road when the sun disappears. Solar cars can run indefinitely so long as the sun is shining, but cannot travel very far when the input of electricity from their solar panels diminishes.

Challenges Facing Solar Cars

Like stationary solar installations, the major hurdles for solar cars are the efficiency of solar panels and the availability of solar energy. These two factors go hand in hand as more efficient methods of deriving energy from sunlight would, at the very least, allow these cars to function during cloudy days. As it stands, the 15% to 20% efficiency of current solar panels limits the use of solar vehicles to sunny or partly cloudy days.

Lightweight, high-energy power storage systems would also go a long way to making electric and solar cars more viable. If a high-energy power system were developed and paired with highly efficient solar panels, then storage of electricity that is captured even when the car is not in use would mean very long ranges, even on cloudy days or at night.

The Average Solar Car

The average solar car that is currently in research and development will carry only a single passage. With the battery packed removed and no driver on board, many of these cars weight as little as 140 kg, which is only a fraction of the roughly 4000 kg that the average petrol car weights.

The IVy, which was built by the University of New South Wales, can produce 1.2 kW of power at peak through its solar panels. It set the solar speed record in 2009 with a top speed of 88.5 km/h.

Solar Races

Many solar cars are demonstrated during solar races that occur at various times throughout the year and in various locations throughout the world. Some of these races attract as many as 40 entries from universities around the world. A dedicated article to solar races details each race and its intended purpose.

University and Other Solar Cars

University/Entity

Car Name

Country

Advanced Energy Foundation

Sanyo Iritron

South Africa

Anadolu Solar Team

Sunatolia

Turkey

Anakara University

Gunebakan

Turkey

Arizona State University

Sun Devil Cruiser

USA

Ashiya University

Ashiya SkyAce TIGA

Japan

Atilim University

HASAT

MELIH TURGUT

Turkey

Aurora

Aurora Evolution

Australia

Aurora Vehicle Association

101

Australia

Beijing Institute of Technology

Coolkid

China

Bloomington HS South

Komachi

USA

Bogazici University

Theia

Turkey

Cal State

Solar Eagle III

USA

Cambridge Uni Eco

Endeavor

UK

Celal Bayar University

MAGAR H2

Turkey

Delhi Technological University

Avenir

India

Divwatt

Sunna

South Africa

Dokuz Eylul University

Solaris University

Turkey

Durham University

DUSC2011

UK

Eclipse7 Solarcar team

Eclipse 7

Canada

Ecole de technologie superieure

Eclipse 7

Canada

Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal

Esteban V

Canada

Ege University

EgEFE

Turkey

Eskisehir Osmangazi University

OSCAR

Turkey

Gaziantep University

ORETRON-2

Turkey

Georgia Solar Jackets

Endeavor

USA

German International HS

Tba

South Africa

Green Maniac

Haegama

Korea

Group T – Leuven Engineering College

Umicar Imagine

Belgium

Helios

Helios IV

France

Hochschule Bochum

Solarworld No.1

BOcruiser

Germany

Hochsule Wurzburg-Schweinfurt

SSC1

Germany

Honda

Honda Dream

Japan

Houston Solar Team

Sundancer

USA

Illinois State University

Mercury IV

USA

Iowa State University

Sol Invictus

USA

Istanbul Technical University

Ariba V

Turkey

Istanbul University

SOCRAT

Turkey

Junk Yard

Spirit of Junkyard

Japan

Kanazawa Institute of Technology

KIT Golden Eagle4

Japan

Kansas State University

ReParagon

USA

Kyocera and Kitami Institute of Technology

Son of Sun

Japan

Los Altos HS

Solar Shadow III

USA

Marcelo da Luz

Xof1

Canada

Marmara University

Marti

Turkey

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chopper del Sol

USA

McGill University

iSun

Canada

Middle East Technical University

ODTU-TEK

SoularCar 1&2

Myst

Turkey

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun X

Canada

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Solar Miner VII

USA

Mitsubishi

Sun Challenger

Japan

Montana State University

Double Black Diamond

USA

Nanyang Tech University

Nanyang Vernture V

Singapore

National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences

Apollo VI

Taiwan

Netagi Subhas Institute of Technology

Aday

India

North Dakota State University

Prairie Fire GT

USA

Northwestern University

Sc5

USA

Nuon Solar Team

Nuna 6

Netherlands

Ohio State University

Firefly

USA

Onda Solare

Emilia 2

Italy

Oregon State University

Raindancer

USA

Osaka Institute of Technology

Iris

Japan

Osaka Sangyo University

OSU Model S

Japan

Principia College Team

Ra 7s

USA

Project SARA

SARA I

USA

Purdue University

Pulsar Celeritas

USA

Qazvin Islamic Azad University

Havin

Iran

Queen’s University

Aurum

Canada

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Photon

USA

Ritsumeikan University

VI-mana09

Japan

Sakarya University

Saguar2

Turkey

Sakarya University

SAGUAR II

Turkey

Seraaj

Wahj

Saudi Arabia

Solar Energy

SER-1

Switzerland

Solar Fern Racing

Solar Fern

New Zealand

Solar Team Twente

21Connect

Netherlands

Solaris

Avenir

India

Sonderborg Teknikum

The Third

Denmark

South Plantation HS

The Solar Knight II

USA

Southern Illinois University

Cougar Cruiser 9000

USA

Stanford Solarcar Project

Stanford

USA

Sungroper Solar Car Association

Sungroper 3

Australia

SWISSSPIRIT

SWISSSPIRIT

Switzerland

TAFE South Australia

Solar Spirit Australia

Australia

Team Bochum

SolarWorld GT

Germany

Team Okinawa

Lequion

Japan

Team OKINAWA

LEQUION

Japan

Team Solar Fox

Solar Fox 3

USA

Team Solar Philippines

Sikat II

Phillippiine

TEAM SUNLAKE

SUNLAKE EVO

Japan

Texas Tech University

Raider 1

USA

The Winston School

The Hunter

USA

Tokai University

Tokai Challenger2

Tokai Spirit

Tokai Falcon

Japan

Umicore Solar Team

Umicore

Belgium

Uni Malaya Pahang

UMP Solar

Malaysia

Uniten Solar Team

Solar Ranger

Malaysia

Universidad Simon Bolivar

Araguaney I

Venezuela

University de Chile

Eolian

Chile

University of Arizona

Drifter 2.0

USA

University of British Columbia

Rave

Canada

University of Calgary

Schulich Axiom

Canada

University of California Berkeley

Impulse

USA

University of Cambridge

Affinity

UK

University of Kentucky

Gato del Sol IV

USA

University of Michigan

Quantum

USA

University of Minnesota

Centaurus II

USA

University of Missouri

SunTiger VI

USA

University of New South Wales

Sunswift IV

UK

University of Ottawa

RALOS II

Canada

University of Sao Paulo

The Banana Enterprise

Brazil

University of Tehran

Persian Gazelle II

Iran

University of Texas at Austin

Samsung Solorean

USA

University of Toronto

Blue Sky

Canada

University of Twente

21revolution

The Netherlands

University of Utah

Steel Sun Beast

USA

University of Virginia

Solar Revolution III

USA

University of Waterloo

Midnight Sun X

Canada

University of Western Ontario

SunStang

Canada

UREG Pakistan

Chips

Pakistan

Waseda University

Sky Blue Waseda

Japan

West Point Academy

Onondaga

USA

Western Michigan University

Sunseeker

USA

Yasar University

YASAR GUNES

Turkey

Yildiz Technical University

Barracuda X

Turkey

 

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