Top 10 Solar Powered Concept Cars
No 10. Helios
The car takes inspiration from none other than the animal kingdom for its extendable solar panel design. I know no one would want to drive something with a hell lot of solar panels rising above from the roof of the car, but this car does not compromise on stylish looks, as these solar panels can be folded down when you want to take it out for a drive. And when it’s sitting idle, you can simply extend the solar panels and power your home with the energy generated.
The Dark Side:
A car with an ability to generate electricity not only for itself but also for other power hungry appliances is praiseworthy. However, a car with such solar panels will undoubtedly be for people born with deep pockets. The presumed high cost of the car can put things down a bit, but if somehow car manufacturers devise a way to keep the cost of such a car down, then we surely will call it “The Wonder Car.”
No 9. Peugeot OMNI
In 1973, a Swedish automobile designer named Bengt Ilon dreamt of a car that could move sideways on “Omni-wheels,” which could speed up transport and take it to a whole new level. The concept was not obviously picked up or developed through the decades. Now, finally we have a model that has been designed for Peugeot – OMNI.
The car, which is perfect for future megalopolis, has a sporty, aerodynamic body that represents evolution of the new age. The small city car has been made for just two occupants, keeping in mind that in 95% cases a car just has one occupant at a time. The exterior body is intended to be developed with carbon fiber, which should guarantee strength without adding much to the body of the car.
The most stunning feature of the car still remains its ability to move sideways at a speed of 5 km/h, which would ease parking and will make sure that the car does not always get stuck in traffic jams.
The Dark Side:
Apart from high cost fears, the “Omni-wheels” technology still seems a couple of decades away from realism. However, if the technology is made then it could truly refine the way we drive.
No 8. EVE
If you thought that the Chameleon was smart enough when it comes to changing shades and conserving energy with its ambush hunting, then think again. “Eve” is one of the most delightful concept cars that you would have seen in quite some time. Designed by Omar Huerta, the car is filled with plenty of green features. While the car does not change colors as dramatically as a Chameleon does, Eve can change the shades by using a unique light reflecting technique that is synchronized with the mood of the driver. So, the merrier you are, the brighter your car is!
Eve also has a specially coated windshield that helps it tap into solar energy. The body of the car is made from an exclusive mixture of polymers that generate electricity through the friction of the wheels. This, along with solar power, would be almost sufficient to run Eve emission-free. Crafted for three, Eve is all about going green.
The Dark Side:
Like many concept cars, Eve might also never see the light of day. The fancy look and the all-electric engine depend on a polymer technology that is still to be found and tested. All this surely means that Eve is not coming out in the next couple of decades.
No 7. VW VAN
It seems that concept designers nowadays are trying to solve the problems of the environment with their own designs that they hope will come to life. Adam Danko has also shown the design of his dreams which he calls the VW VAN. This amazing car design, which Adam says is a reincarnation of the classic old car – the VW Transporter T1 — consists of an electric power house with a multitude of charging options.
The chassis of this car would consist of metal girders and the body would consist of glass that would be transparent from inside. The dual door car is designed to house an electric engine, which should provide about 150-200 PS. The car is equipped with solar panels, which are mounted on the rooftop, and during the rainy season the car can be plugged in to the home power socket. Moreover, the car’s batteries also get continuously charged from the energy regrouped from braking.
The Dark Side:
Since the designer has not stated much about the technical side of this car, we really can’t say anything much about the top speed of the VW VAN. We do, however, believe that a battery that would provide 200 PS would be heavy and would affect the all-round performance of the car. Also, a car with a glass body can in no terms be stated safe for travel.
No 6. Felidae
Modern semi-trailers often cause damage to fragile goods during transportation, as they are not very flexible with their suspension and also consume way too much energy while loading and unloading stuff. Ramandeep Singh is the designer of Felidae, and he draws inspiration from a leaping leopard to design his modern and energy conscious semi-trailer. The vehicle sports a flexible suspension and hence can touch the floor completely while unloading material such as glass. The truck can also vary its size, depending on the space available on city roads, and it is powered by an engine that can run on solar power, bio-fuel and even electric charge or a combination of the three.
The Dark Side
There is very little you could crib about the Felidae, as it is both eco-friendly and easy on cargo. Hopefully, we will see a prototype coming out soon. Considering how bad most trucks and semi-trailers are in terms of emissions, this could be an absolute boon.
No 5. Seat Birsa
Allow the breeze to take you on a smooth ride on a lazy Sunday morning. I am not penning any poetic lines and I seriously mean what I just wrote. “Brisa” is the Spanish word for “breeze,” and fitted with a seat and wheels it becomes Seat Brisa, a solar-powered sports car. Taking a cue from a small sailing boat that is dependent on natural elements for its mobility, Seat Brista is also supposed to sail over land but by the power of the sun. Nano-photovoltaic cells within its translucent elastomere shell translate power to a rear-wheel-mounted motor.
Sporting an uber light and translucent body, this two-seater seems to be an open-roof concept with an abrupt rear. Designer Miguel Ángel Iranzo Sánchez has also cut it down to three wheels. So another addition to the three-wheeled generation of eco-cars.
No 4. Volvo Dakar Rally
This is neither confirmed news nor is it something that the organizers of the grueling race are planning for come the year 2015. But this very well could be the way Dakar Rally goes considering the shape which auto industry is taking and with growing prices and demand for fossil fuel. This is nothing beyond a concept impression of an artist with flowing eco-juices and it depicts a future rough race that is powered by renewable resources and the solar-powered Volvo will be one of the prime contenders, hopefully!
Solar-Powered Volvo probably could do a lot better if it were to use the power of the wind in the rally as that would be available in plenty when you are taking part in the race. I still would like to see a model that integrates small turbines which do not affect the aerodynamics of the car too much yet produce a considerable amount of power. This kind of design could be well integrated in to designs of other vehicles like the rail structures. The car though with the solar-roof is pretty cool to sport around.
No 3. Shoo
It is the age of the concept cars and while they have taken over minds and imagination, they still have a long way to go before they take over the roads. Some say that it is inevitable and the others tell you that it is impossible and yet they go on merrily coming out more and more in number. The good thing about these concept cars is that they are also incorporating green gadgets and technologies more and more in them. ‘Peugeot Shoo’ is something that is all about solar glow.
The car is designed in a stable triangle shape to give it plenty of design and a lot of space as well. It has a solar roof enabling energy of the sun to be capture and transformed to run its electrical engine. The car is not only a zero-emission vehicle but even the power for its electric engine is from alternate sources making it truly and completely eco-friendly.
While the car can tango on its pretty awesome suspension, it amalgamates the features of ergonomic design with clean power to deliver big time. Now just don’t hold your breath on this one coming to the roads!
No 1. Town Car
After some really weird concept cars we got to see lately, here is one which looks a bit more practical. Designed by Serge Totsky, The TownCar, is a 5-door s-segment vehicle that has been designed for the modern eco youth. This five-seater has been designed by integrating all the modern green technologies that are presently available.
The car gets powered up by a hybrid engine, which runs on two eco sources of energy that include a fuel cell system residing under its hood and solar panels sitting on top of the roof. The designer expects that these hybrid technologies are enough to propel the car to speed in excess of 110mph, which sounds pretty decent when we look at some other variants where the top speed had to be sacrificed to clean up the vehicle.
A four-wheel steering system has been introduced in the car, which should allow the driver to turn the car in tight corners. Moreover, the driver of this car would have an option to choose the power source needed for the drive, while the speed lovers will opt for the combination of both the sources, the slow riders would have solar panels at their disposal.
The Dark Side:
The car is one of the most practical concepts that we have seen lately, but since hydrogen filling stations are not as common as the gasoline counterparts, we don’t see many who would be interested in driving a couple of hundred miles to get this car refueled.
No 2. Mercedes Formula Zero
Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center of North America has unveiled a concept car dubbed the Formula Zero. The Formula Zero concepts aims to combine the thrill of Formula One and the efficiency of yacht racing, without compromising on the environment. This new car also looks for some changes in the way motorsports are conducted.
Unlike traditional racing, where the racers aim to finish first, this new concept introduces energy efficiency as the most important part of the competition. Here all the racers are allotted the same amount of energy, and it all depends on the design of the car and the skills of the racer from there onwards. The more the energy efficiency of the car, the better are the chances to win. The winners are finally determined by the time taken to complete the race and the amount of energy used in doing so.
Talking about the car, it comes with electric hub motors on all four wheels and an aero-efficient solar skin that powers the batteries, which finally run the motors. Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero hopes to reach the race track by 2025.
The Dark Side:
People visiting race tracks come there to hear screaming engines and see mind-boggling speed. Will people in future change their mindset to see a race of energy efficiency, is still debatable.