How Long until There Are Solar Powered Vehicles Everywhere?
In 1970, the solar powered vehicle called the Bluebird gave mankind its first glimpse at what an automobile that ran off of sun power could do. Since that time vehicles that use photovoltaic cells to change sunlight into electricity have been presented as prototypes in car shows and science fairs. More than four decades have past since the first vehicle was released and still there are no workable solar powered vehicles being sold on the marketplace. This has led some to believe that maybe creating a solar powered vehicle that does not use gasoline at all is impossible. Others strongly argue that with just a little bit of ingenuity and a little bit of fortitude on the part of automobile manufacturers, solar powered vehicles could become a part of everyday life.
To be fair, some of the larger car manufacturers like Mazda and Ford have developed vehicles that have features that run off solar power. Some of their headlights run off solar power. Solar panels are not used to power the vehicle but to power the interior lights and sound system.
The automobile industry faces a lot of challenges when it comes to producing solar powered vehicles. That’s not to say that solar power cars do not have a market because they do. The world is full of environmentally conscious individuals who would love to stop using gas powered automobiles and use an automobile that is powered off a more noble source. The Internet is full of custom PowerPoint presentations touting the benefits that automobiles that run off solar power would bring for society.
There are two problems that solar powered cars need to overcome. First is the price. Producing a solar powered vehicle is very expensive. The price of the vehicle offsets the economic value that people would receive from not purchasing gasoline. Another problem they face is speed/distance. Solar powered cars that can go fast cannot travel that far. No vehicle can run entirely on solar power because if there is a period of time with heavy cloud cover or periods of no sun like at night, the vehicle just cannot go.
Of course, this does not mean that designers and car manufacturers are writing off solar powered vehicles as an impossibility. There has been a lot of positive research and development done in the field of solar powered vehicles. With just a little bit of ingenuity and a little bit of grit, one should expect to see solar powered vehicles on the road in the near future.