Will the cars of the future be powered by the sun?
Manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways to become more environmentally friendly producing electric cars, hydrogen powered cars and even making prototypes of cars that can run on air! But are they all looking in the wrong place? Should they be looking to the skies to create the next environmentally friendly car? A team from the University of Technology in the Netherlands certainly think so…….
Stella is a prototype solar powered car; energy from the solar panels on the roof of the car creates energy that is used to power the vehicles lithium ion battery. From a single full charge Stella can travel 500 miles … Stella was put to the test on a drive of 385 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco and reached speeds of up to 80 mph.
The body is made of carbon fibre weighing 390 kg, is 4.6 metres long and is aerodynamic to help keep the driving range as long as possible and the prototype can seat 4 people ….if they can get in as the car is a tiny 1.2 metres tall!
There are also some fun features of Stella. Lifting the back solar panels will reveal a boot and the steering wheel will expand when you are driving too fast then shrink when you are driving too slowly! As well as this Stella can communicate with other cars and features a tablet which will display to the driver a countdown to when traffic lights ahead are turning red or green!
The team called Solar Tam Eindhoven at the University responsible for Stella hope that one day solar cars will be a regular sight on the road ……… but what would happen if the sun wasn’t shining!
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29 September 2014
Written by Rivervale