A “solar automobile” is an electric vehicle powered by solar electricity. The electricity is obtained from the solar panels on the surface, usually the top or window of the vehicle. It is amazing to know that the cars can run on freely and abundantly available renewable energy source the solar energy. The increasing fuel prices, slow economy, and high rates of inflation project a doom picture for our future. In these times the hopes of alternative fuel like solar energy is ray of hope for the bright future ahead.
In these vehicles “photovoltaic cells” are used which directly convert solar power into solar electricity. PV cells directly convert sunlight into electricity. When sunlight strikes PV cells, they excite electrons and allow them to flow, creating an electrical current. PV cells are made of semiconductor materials such as silicon and alloys of indium, gallium and nitrogen. Silicon is the most common material used and has an efficiency rate of 15-20%. The electrical energy produced by them is stored in the battery. The battery runs the motor which in turn runs the wheels of the vehicle and drives it.
Advantages of solar automobiles are as follows:
1. Solar energy is a clean source of energy as combustion of solar power doesn’t emit any fumes or gases. Harmful gases released due to fuel combustion in the automobiles have resulted in several environmental problems such as pollution, global warming and green house effect.
2. Automobile fuel combustion is the cause of several respiratory disorders and other health-related problems. While by using solar automobiles we can control effectively these types of problems.
3. One can never encounter the problem of running out of fuel with solar powered cars; solar energy in cars is also an effective saving option.
Solar powered cars are pollution free and also solar energy is inexhaustible. There is a very bright future for solar energy to power our transportation needs and we’re just scratching the surface of the possibilities.