Solar-powered cars are similar to ordinary cars in almost every aspect. They have a motor, body, wheels, brakes, seats, a steering wheel and some sort of fuel to run them. The only difference is the kind of fuel that runs them. Solar vehicles utilize sunlight energy by converting it into electricity. This electricity then charges a battery that in turn runs the vehicle’s motor. Some of these cars direct the electricity straight into an electric motor rather than using a battery. Solar-powered cars have several benefits, some of which are outlined below.
No Fuel Costs
When it comes to developing, producing and operating solar cars, there are significant economic incentives. Since they are not dependent on external fuel sources, they are exempted from the costs of fuel usually associated with gasoline and diesel. The sunlight that the cars’ photovoltaic cells convert into electricity is free and readily available during the day for everyone.
There are No Emissions
Since solar cars run on electric motors, they do not emit any fumes or gases since there is no fuel undergoing combustion. This key aspect of these vehicles is of particular interest to environment-conscious car owners. Such motorist can enjoy personal transportation without having to contribute to greenhouse gases emissions and air pollution. The aspect is also appealing to car manufacturers and researchers who come up with solar-powered concept cars and prototypes.
They Contribute to Environmental Preservation
The components of a solar-powered vehicle such as panels may incur resources and energy to manufacture. However, once the solar car is complete, no additional energy input would be required. Given that these cars do not consume fuel or need any oil changes, they have a limited dependence on products that are petroleum-based. Such products are only used for wheel lubrication or replacement of parts using plastic. Together with the fact that they produce no emissions, this contributes a lot environmental conservation. In addition, components of the car such as the electric motor are virtually maintenance-free. This is in sharp contrast to the engines of normal gasoline-powered cars.
The panels and electric motor of solar cars run silently and hence do not worsen the noise pollution already on the roads. Generally, the motors are usually smaller than engines of ordinary cars. Also, they run without the vibrations and noise associated with convectional cars. This provides the driver with comfort while riding on them.
Solar vehicles were first designed by certain universities, with research and development of the technology continuing from there. This research was focused on car power requirements, solar cell design, heating and air conditioning. In recent times, exposure by the popular media and environmental advocacy groups has made the general public familiar with these cars. The concept of driving a car without harmful emissions, and requiring low maintenance is quite appealing to investors. Also, since such a car does not require an expensive source of fuel, it is perfect for a DSA practical. As of 2010, no production-ready models of the cars have been developed. However, the above benefits will definitely make them attractive to consumers in the future.