Material Engineers : Pros and Cons of Solar Powered Cars

Figure 1. 

Solar Powered Cars in the Future

Although a solar power car may not be commercially viable right now, there are ways that solar power can be added to existing designs to make vehicles more efficient. Material Scientist examine the pros and cons of this technology, it can continue to move forward in development to help save on fossil fuels, and the electric grid and pollutions. Solar-powered vehicles (Solar Cells ) have zero emission level, as they don’t utilize non-renewable resources and burn fuel. The electric motors generate electricity (See Figure 1.) that doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases or any other pollutants. These cars are quieter than the vehicles powered by conventional fuels, which don’t cause noise pollution as well. Lets take a closer look at Pros and Cons of Solar Powered Cars. 

Pros of Solar Powered Cars:

  • Virtually eliminate pollution.
    Although fossil fuels and CO2 would likely continue to be produced with the manufacturing process of solar panels and vehicles, the ongoing pollution would be removed with solar power. Over time, this could contribute to a reduction of the potential global warming threat.
  • Immediately improve fuel efficiency. 
    When solar power is equipped to traditional fuel vehicles, the extra power boost won’t eliminate pollution, but it does create less of a need for oil. With 70% of the billions of barrels of oil the US uses annually going to transportation, a small improvement can create big results. 
  • Eliminates the need for ongoing fuel costs. 
    If a car were 100% solar powered, then there would no longer be a need to stop for fuel. Electricity could supplement the solar power on dark days or at night as an alternative to fuel as well to further reduce the need for fossil fuels.

Cons of Solar Cars 

  • Power consumption is a major problem.
    For solar powered cars, their size is limited because of the power requirements a vehicle has. The modern 100% solar vehicle only carries one person and is lightweight enough that an accident would be problematic. Material Scientist are looking at ways to improve ways to carry more passengers. 
  • The costs are still high. 
    Although solar panel technology has been dramatically improving over the past decade, there is still enough of a premium cost that will prevent many households from investing in a solar powered car for some years to come. Materials Scientist will come up with a way eventually to make Solar Cars available for all. 
  • It still couldn’t be driven all night. 
    Even with a full electrical charge supplementing solar power storage, it would be impossible to drive all night with this type of vehicle with current technology. Some sort of combustible fuel would need to be used. Still this would save on gas, use of the electrical grid and adding to pollution. 
Solar Panels Slanted

Figure 2. 

Conclusion:

As car owners become more and more environmentally conscious about the vehicles they own, it’s only reasonable to ask if you should get an “environmentally-conscious” vehicle, like a solar car. (See Figure 2. Above) Solar power (Engineers work to clean up the energy)  has always been appealing since relying on a renewable resource like sunlight will undoubtedly save money over time and cut down on the carbon footprint we leave behind while driving fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Although concepts have been developed, and solar cars may in fact be available in showrooms in a few years, there are still many skeptical opinions out there that suggest that solar cars will always remain a pipe dream. However, with electric cars now surging into the market and onto the road, one can only hope that solar cars are not too far behind.  

2018-07-25T09:17:33+00:00

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