As gas prices skyrocket, attention is focusing on alternative sources of energy to power vehicles. One option that many are exploring involves solar power cars. Although they have their share of problems, this mode of transportation is already feasible and improvements are likely to only make the prospect more appealing to drivers.
Unfortunately at the present time, solar power cars do have their share of problems. When the pros and cons of current vehicles are looked at, it is clear why they haven’t yet gone into mass production. With further research, however, it is hoped solar power cars might provide the solution to fossil fuel driven vehicles.
The Cons Of Solar Cars
Solar power cars operate using a combination of solar power and regular electricity to charge batteries. Hybrids involve both battery power and some fuel source, such as ethanol or plain gasoline. The current limitations of this type of vehicle include:
• Limited charge capacity – The solar power collection system on many solar models today lacks the capacity that drivers demand. In some cases, these vehicles can only go a few miles before their charges wear out. Hybrids do, of course, offer more mileage due to their gas burning ability, but they sacrifice the full environmental benefits that a 100 percent solar driven vehicle would bring to the table.
• Reliance on electric charging – Since the sun’s power isn’t always available for charging batteries, there is still a need to rely on regular electric to augment solar battery charging.
• Speed – There are some issues with current models of solar cars in relation to maximum speeds. These cars, although street legal in most designs, cannot generally reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour. This does tend to hamper the desirability of the design.
The Advantages Of Solar Cars
While few people deny a need for further research and major improvements in regard to solar power cars, the concept is not without its merits. If a faster, longer-traveling model were created, the pros of this kind of car would include:
• Lowered environmental impacts – Unlike fossil-fuel driven vehicles, solar cars do not produce the greenhouse gases that combustion engines create.
• Economic advantage – If a solar model were created that provided enough efficiency, the cost savings in gasoline alone could be quite impressive.
Solar power cars are not on every street corner at the moment for a reason. Despite some flaws, however, this concept is gaining much attention. Research and development could very well prove to make this type of car the vehicle of the future.