The ever-fast moving automobile market is going through a major paradigm shift, the shift from conventional fuel-powered cars to the alternate fuel-powered cars. And the torch bearer for the alternate energy is electric vehicles. Companies like Tesla, Maini (now Mahindra-owned) and big OEMs like Audi and Mercedes are pushing their boundaries to make way for the cleaner source of energy.
But the question arises, what next? Electric energy as a source, definitely produces zero-emission, but it still requires electricity to be produced. And electricity can't be developed without zero-emission itself, at least not for next 50 years. Countries like India are still largely dependent on thermal-power stations and they emit a lot of carbon dioxide.
In comes the solar-energy, the cleanest form of energy which doesn't require and sort of charging. A China based solar panel manufacturer called Hanergy has revealed new and fanciful series of concepts that can allegedly run purely on solar power. All the four concepts use thin-film solar modules to create so-called zero-charge cars.
According to Hanergy, the solar panels can draw 8 to 10 kilowatt-hours of energy from 5 to 6 hours of sunlight. This amount of energy is good enough to run the car for 50 miles, or 80 kms. Now these are some impressive numbers considering most of the solar energy drawn from solar cells is wastage and can't be used as a form of energy.
What makes Hanergy so sure about their goal is the fact that their solar cells can convert 31.6 percent of solar energy into usable energy. Hanergy says it's a record breaking figure, citing the World Record Association and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Each panel will vary from 38 to 81 square feet, covering the car's body.
For the purpose of demonstration, Hanergy showed four concept cars - the Solar R, Solar O, Solar L and Solar A. Each car is targeted at different kinds of user - 'R' being the sportiest of the four. There's a single image from the event and the Solar R looks just like the BMW i8, and the other two cars in the image are a hatchback and a minivan concept.
If you are thinking what will happen after 80 kms or in case of prolonged cloudiness and rains, Hanergy cars can be recharged just like any other EV. The on-board lithium-ion batteries can be charged using a conventional charging station and has a total range of 217 miles. Add to it the 50 miles of solar energy, Hanergy cars can go close to 270 miles or 430 kms. That's an impressive figure by any means!
We are hopeful that more companies will come up with solar energy powered cars in the future!