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Weird Alibaba: This funny-looking $2,000 electric mini-truck is solar powered

solar electric truck

We like to think that we have it all figured out in the West, but while we’re still trying to get solar electric cars off the drawing board, China’s EV engineers already have them driving around. Look no further than this awesome little three-wheeled electric truck that just happens to have enough solar panels to give it nearly infinite range — at least while the sun is out.

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Squad Mobility officially launches its Solar City Car optimized for private and shared EV use

Following three years of development, Squad Mobility has officially launched the SQUAD Solar City Car – a two-seater solar electric vehicle (SEV) that can be driven in several EU countries without a driver’s license. Designed for both private ownership and shared mobility, the compact SQUAD Solar City Car will soon be able to bridge the gap between passenger EVs and electric two-wheelers.

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Lightyear partners with LeasePlan NL to deliver first AWD solar-powered family car

Solar race spawned Lightyear plans to partner with Dutch-based car leasing service LeasePlan to release the first consumer solar-based vehicle by 2020. Lightyear has been aiming to create a consumer version of an energy positive solar vehicle for years now, effectively meaning they produce more energy than they consume.

Further, today’s press release also details that Lightyear this week will open its primary production factory at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, Netherlands.



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Solar-powered car breaks world record in efficiency during 4,100 km Australian trip

solar-powered car violet

As advancements are made in both photovoltaic technology and solar-powered car design, efficiency rates have been skyrocketing. Nowhere has this been more apparent, or exciting, than in the field of solar-powered racing.

A team from the University of NSW just obliterated the previous solar-powered car efficiency record. The students crossed Australia from Perth to Sydney on just $50 worth of electricity.



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Hyundai and Kia unveil new solar roof to charge batteries in vehicles, launching next year

Electric vehicles enable owners to have more choices for the sources of energy to power their vehicles. EV owners have been known to adopt solar power at a higher rate than the rest of the popular.

Some of them even want solar directly on their vehicles – even though it’s not the most efficient place for it.

Hyundai and Kia have now unveiled a new solar roof for vehicles to launch next year.

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Creators of record-breaking solar car launch startup to sell street-legal version

Solar Team Eindhoven, a group of engineering students from the Technical University of Eindhoven (Netherlands), has been competing in the World Solar Challenge with their Stella and Stella Lux, energy positive solar cars – meaning that they can produce more energy than they consume.

Some of the students responsible for the vehicles have now launched a new startup to make a commercial street-legal version of the car.

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Solar Team Eindhoven unveiled the Stella Lux, an energy positive solar car [Photo Gallery]

20671322333_fddb718287_k1Solar Team Eindhoven is a group of 21 students from the Technical University of Eindhoven (Netherlands) who put their studies on hold for over a year to work on what became the Stella Lux; an energy positive solar car.

Energy positive means that the solar panels on the roof of the vehicle can actually produce more energy than the vehicle consumes while driving.


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World Solar Challenge kicks off, cars drive 3000km thru sunny Australia power by the sun

 

If you wonder about the Solar future of vehicle transportation, this is where you should start. The World Solar Challenge has a great deal of innovation in the solar field as well as pushing innovation in efficiency and recovering electricity for electric cars.

In friendly competition with others attempting the same goals, the teams depart Darwin aiming to be the first to arrive in Adelaide, some 3000km to the south.

It’s all about energy management! Based on the original notion that a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle.

These are arguably the most efficient electric vehicles.

Having made the journey to Darwin by successfully navigating quarantine, customs, scrutineering, safety inspections and undertaken event briefings, participants are ready to start their epic journey.

The elite Challenger class is conducted in a single stage from Darwin to Adelaide. Once the teams have left Darwin they must travel as far as they can until 5pm in the afternoon where they make camp in the desert where-ever they happen to be. Other classes have different requirements, but all teams must be fully self-sufficient and
for all concerned it is a great adventure – many say the adventure of a lifetime.

During the journey there are 7 mandatory check points where observers are changed and team managers may update themselves with the latest information on the weather and their own position in the field. Here teams may perform the most basic of maintenance only – checking and maintenance of tyre pressure and cleaning of debris from the vehicle.

There are also undisclosed check points which may be imposed by the event officials to ensure regulatory compliance.

Will a future Leaf or Tesla be solar powered? Probablynot any time soon, but slapping solar panels on top of electric cars can only help improve their efficiency, extend their range and rely less on the grid. If it is any indication how far we need to go, the Prius had a short lived solar panel that only cooled the car.

Here’s a great gallery of the cars. More videos below:

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