Forget EVs – The World Wants Solar-Powered Vehicles

svasa | August 11, 2022 | Life

Electric cars have paved the way for a zero emissions future, but there is indeed a long road ahead due to the various obstacles currently in its way. The biggest Achilles’ heel of electric cars is that they rob the basic independence that an automobile affords its owner – the ability to go anywhere, anytime. At the moment, electric cars are hamstrung by a small charging network and the lack of an ecosystem which the internal combustion engine car has been giving for ages. A possible solution is the solar-powered car which removes a lot of the issues plaguing electric mobility.
In essence, solar powered cars are also part of electric mobility, but add in a crucial bit of convenience via solar charging. Conventional electric cars rely on plug-in chargers. Many times, however, charging stations might not work, hence leading to range anxiety.

Solar powered cars remove that and adds another charging source. It is a simple concept that has been tried by several automakers. One of them is the ‘Sion’ a sci-fi electric small car that has an exterior stuffed with solar cells. It has near 250 of them and they convert sunlight into energy. It generates around 112 km of range on average (up to 245 km) per week based on sunlight alone. The official range of this car is above 300km with a standard charger but the solar panels can charge it enough for the owner to plug-in their car once a week.

On the basis of average weather, the car can generate enough range for a daily drive without the need for plugging it in. This would make electric cars more efficient and affordable while removing range anxiety.

L-R: Sion, by Sonomotors; Aptera, by Aptera Motors

The new luxury SUV from Fisker also has a solar roof that adds 1,600km a year just through the power of the sun. Unlike Sion, the solar roof is a lot more convenient solution while the solar cells are arranged in a way that some sunlight is also let into the cabin. In sunny California (or even India), just parking the car in the sun will help recharge it.
There are more extreme iterations of solar-powered cars like the Aptera which claims that there is no need to charge their car at all! It has an aerodynamic design and a 1,000 mile range. On the basis of the sunlight, the car can add up-to 40 miles per day. Thanks to the unique shape of the car, there are diamond shaped solar panels that generate 700 watts of continuous charging power – whether you are driving the car or not.
Of course, this might not be a great solution during winters or places where sunlight is not that abundant. But it is a viable solution to progress the state of electric mobility. We expect to see more and more solar-powered cars coming up in the near future, along with traditional battery electric cars, as different ways to source energy are being currently sought after. The power of the sun will now help mobility!

Words by Somnath Chatterjee.
Republished from
Images via Unsplash, Aptera, and Sonomotors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like