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Published on September 26th, 2013 | by James Ayre


eVe — Solar-Powered Car That Looks And Functions Similar To A Regular Car

September 26th, 2013 by  

An engineering team from Sydney, Australia has created a solar-powered car that looks like a normal car, functions like a normal car, and certainly appears to be able to completely take the place of one, hopefully within the near-future anyway. The eVe, as the creators have named it, was created specifically for the upcoming World Solar Challenge race in Australia, but as the pictures below show, it certainly seems to have a great deal more potential than that. 🙂

The idea of being able to drive anywhere you like with nothing but the energy of the sun powering you is certainly a compelling one, but the reality has generally been assumed to be at least a couple of decades off — if its possible at all. But looking at the images right now, perhaps a viable commercial concept could come forth sometime a bit sooner?

solar electric car

Image Credit: Sunswift/UNSW

The designers (Sunswift) are currently aiming to get their car registered to drive on city roads.

As reported by the Wall Street Daily, the project’s Lead Mechanical Engineer, Kris Harrison, stated: “At the beginning of this challenge, what we were aiming for is to develop a car which the public could align themselves with, and actually envisage themselves driving around the street. Instead of having the standard solar-powered cars, which look like a blimp and have no boot space or anything practical.”

“The brakes work very well. The steering’s quite responsive. Vision is reasonable,” Paterson continued. “The car isn’t limited to city streets, either. Since eVe can hit upwards of 87 miles per hour, it’s good to go on the open road, too. Not bad, considering that it’s only fueled by the sun’s rays. The next step is to install headlights and side impact protection to get eVe certified as roadworthy.”

solar car

Image Credit: Sunswift/UNSW

“We’ve actually gone to the point of having it almost ready to register before the race. After the race we’ll have a little bit of work to do so we can drive it on a public street.”

Very interesting. What do our readers think?

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Adam Grant

    The significance of this is that it can actually be worthwhile to put solar panels on the roof of an EV to help charge the batteries. An EV will be lighter than an internal combustion vehicle moving the same load, although probably a great deal heavier than the test vehicle used here, so most of the energy will come from the grid. The panels will probably pay themselves off pretty fast, though, and could significantly increase the range between charging stations.

  • Mike


  • Cowboyleland

    Wouldn’t it be great if the driver could contribute a little energy by peddling instead of just being a very heavy guidance system?

  • Marion Meads

    If they are using the world record solar cell with solar radiation conversion efficiency of 44.7%. They can cover the car with such panel occupying 9 m2. For an average perpendicular sunshine hours of 5 hrs/day, that means the car can obtain 20 kWh per day. If it is very aerodynamic, the range could be 4 miles/kWH for Tesla to 12.5 miles/kWh for the now extinct Aptera. Let us assume, that the car is aerodynamic enough at 10 miles/kWH, that could mean traveling 200 miles per day on solar power alone. But it could be a $250,000 car in the cost of the world’s most efficient solar PV alone.

    • Omega Centauri

      44% efficiency requires hundreds to thousands of times concentration of sunlight. Expect efficiency to be under 30%.

  • Omega Centauri

    How many kilowatt hours a day under good conditions can it accumulate? What range (at say 30mile per hour) would it give it? Does it use ultra pricey Galium Arsinide or multijunction panels?

    • That car’s solar could probably produce 8-10 miles a day for a street legal electric car or plug-in. The converted solar plug-in prius’s battery gets about 5-8 miles on a fully sunny 8 hour day…. those panels were put on that prius conversion a few years back though.


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