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Solar-powered family car from Eindhoven University of Technology covers 544 miles in Australia on a single charge

Students from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) covered a distance of 875 km (544 miles) last week without recharging in the solar‑powered family car which they have developed themselves. (Earlier post.) The students are in Australia preparing for the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, to be held from 6 to 13 October.

The distance of 875 km, covered under a partly cloud-filled sky, exceeds the team’s expectations, which were based on a maximum of 800 km (497 miles) in clear conditions.

Solar Team Eindhoven came up with the idea of a solar-powered family car around one-and-a-half years ago. The car draws most of its energy from the 6 m2 roof-mounted solar panels, but it also has batteries for longer distances and short bursts of acceleration. The car is taking part in next month’s 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The car’s most striking feature is that it’s energy-positive—in normal everyday use it generates more power than it consumes. So that surplus energy could be delivered to the electricity grid.

2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. University teams from all over the world will be competing in a 3,000 km (1,62- mile) race through the Australian outback. Solar Team Eindhoven is taking part in the Cruiser class in which the emphasis lies on practical and user-friendly solar cars rather than on speed.



OK so the car is very light and very low, but it has no range problems.

Now, lets get real.
It will have to be stronger to pass safety tests.
- it gets a bit heaver.
It may have to be a bit higher for comfort.
- it gets a bit heavier, and a bit less aerodynamic.

But it can be used as a plug in electric with a solar range extender. And because it is so economical, it can be given a small recharge very quickly.
(It seems to do about 100km/h at 1kw roughly)
Thus, 100 km/Kw - which is incredible.

OK, they are students, and they may be skipping safety regs, but they are showing what can be done with some blue sky thinking.
And actually doing it, not just modelling it, or writing papers.

They may inspire real world car companies.
Perhaps Tesla is looking at their Cv's.
(or Google, or better still Ford).

+ getting 22 of them to work together is also impressive.


Future transparent solar energy converters,with up to 50% efficiency, may be able to drive highly efficient EVs during sunlight hours and store enough surplus energy for a few night time hours?

Of course total vehicle weight, wind and road resistance will have to be kept to a minimum.

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