Solar Car?

You may recall that alternate energy is one of my side interests, although I do not do a lot of posting on the topic.  Frankly, most people find the topic dry and the reality of the situation is that it is a very complex problem to solve.  It is not just a technology problem but also an infrastructure problem.

I ran across this interesting AP article, about Toyota developing a solar vehicle.  This is something that has been going on in engineering schools for years, and having participated in one of these competitions I can tell you (at least at the time) that this is a bit of a pipe dream.  But, if they can draw enough energy from the solar panels to keep a good charge going to the battery or directly to the motors it might make ranges on electric vehicles a viable.  Of course your markets are going to be limited.  Can you imagine a small town like Yuma being >60% solar vehicles?  That would be cool.

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. is secretly developing a vehicle that will be powered solely by solar energy in an effort to turn around its struggling business with a futuristic ecological car, a top business daily reported Thursday.

The Nikkei newspaper, however, said it will be years before the planned vehicle will be available on the market. Toyota’s offices were closed Thursday and officials were not immediately available for comment.

According to The Nikkei, Toyota is working on an electric vehicle that will get some of its power from solar cells equipped on the vehicle, and that can be recharged with electricity generated from solar panels on the roofs of homes. The automaker later hopes to develop a model totally powered by solar cells on the vehicle, the newspaper said without citing sources.

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