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postheadericon Are Solar Powered Vehicles in Our Future?

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Solar power is becoming quite popular in many countries across the planet as it utilizes the energy of the sun. A solar-powered vehicle is basically an electric automobile that is powered by this renewable energy. The power is gained by the use of solar panels that are usually placed on the roof of the car. Photovoltaic (PV) cells then convert the energy from the sun straight into electrical energy. It is all a very simple process. While solar vehicles have been made, they are not considered to be practical in daily transportation use at this point in time. Most solar-powered cars are basically used as demonstration vehicles as well as research projects. However, that is not to say they will not be more popular in the future.

Solar cars are typically quite limited by energy that is input into the machine. The majority of solar cars at present have actually been manufactured for the reason of racing solar cars. However, there are some solar utility vehicles in use in various parts of the world. The cars are usually fitted with gauges that are used to indicate any possible problems. If there are not any gauges installed, the auto will probably have wireless telemetry. This lets a driver's team monitor the energy consumption, the capture of energy as well as other parameters of the car while the driver can simply concentrate on doing the driving.

The PV cells of the cars can directly convert the light of the sun into electricity and are generally constructed of semiconductor materials including alloys of indium, nitrogen, gallium, as well as silicon. However, silicon is used most commonly used as it possesses an efficiency rate of 15 to 20 per cent.

As stated before, solar cars are generally restricted to racing and show. There are two very popular solar car races which are the North American Solar Challenge, and the World Solar Challenge. These are overland road rally-style races that are usually contested by corporate and university teams.

Racers from across the world gather in Australia to compete in the World Solar Challenge. The drivers race 3,000 kilometres across the continent. In the North American Solar Challenge, college and university teams dominate as they race in timed intervals in America and Canada, with the next event scheduled for the summer of 2010.

There is also a race for high school students that is held in America, called the Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge. This is a yearly event that also attracts teams from around the world, but the majority are from the U.S. It originated in 1995. Other distance races are held, such as the Suzuka, Phaethon, which is an annual solar race that is held in Japan.

While solar power has been used to fuel motorcycles, bicycles, ships, and airplanes, it seems that cars would be the most popular form of transportation of a solar vehicle around the world and researchers are trying to develop one for everyday public use. The Solartaxi, which was the result of a project in Switzerland, has actually circumnavigated the world as it drove 50,000 kilometres in 18 and crossed 40 countries. It can travel 400 kilometres without recharging. And has a maximum speed of 90 kilometres per hour. While this is positive news, it seems a type of solar-powered hybrid car will be the next step. However, it has been reported that the 2010 Toyota Prius will have an option to erect solar panels on its roof and that Toyota is trying to develop an all-solar car.

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Article Source: Are Solar Powered Vehicles in Our Future?

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