AUG 05, 2015 2:48 PM PDT

Two Solar Vehicles That Are Actually Practical

WRITTEN BY: Andrew J. Dunlop
When you think of solar powered cars, you probably think of something that looks like a giant eraser on four bicycle wheels, something that a pit crew has to bolt the canopy on to once the driver, probably in some sort of recumbent position is in the single seat. And then it gets up to a blistering 32 miles per hour on some perfectly flat desert test track, leaving you with the impression: Nice science experiment, but I can't really see myself driving one to the grocery store any time in the next few decades. Well, in the past few years things in the solar powered car world have changed a little. No, there aren't solar powered SUVs rolling off the assembly line anywhere, but there are some forward-looking people who have taken on the challenge of making a solar powered vehicle that's actually practical, something that you might actually buy if it was available.

Theoblad's solar powered 1966 VW bus

Daniel Theobald, the CTO of a healthcare IT company called Vecna Technologies, has, in his spare time, retrofitted a 1966 Volkswagen bus and converted it to electric power with a large solar panel on its roof. You can see Daniel in his solar powered bus cruising the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Theobald bought the bus in 2013, and since completing the modifications, he's been using it for short trips within the city.

Theobald's original idea was to turn the bus into a plug-in electric car, which he did, but then he realized that by mounting a solar panel on the roof of the bus, he could cut out the middle man and lower his carbon footprint even further. According to Theobald, with the solar panel installed, he's never had to plug the bus in.



In 2013, a group of students from the Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands built a solar-powered car for the biennial World Solar Challenge race held in Australia. Called Stella, the Dutch university team, which goes by the name Solar Team Eindhoven, built the vehicle with the idea of creating something that somewhat resembles a conventional family car. This year they've improved on their Stella concept with their most recent solar car, the Stella Lux. It's a four-seater and it can get up to about 77.6 miles per hour. And come on, maybe you do 80 on the freeway, but do you ever really need to go faster than that? The Stella Lux actually produces more electricity than it uses. You can plug it in and feed electricity back into the grid, effectively making it a mobile source of renewable energy.


(Source: Greencarreports.org)
About the Author
  • Andrew J. Dunlop lives and writes in a little town near Boston. He's interested in space, the Earth, and the way that humans and other species live on it.
You May Also Like
DEC 14, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 14, 2019
Toxic stormwater pollution in LA beaches
Stormwater pollution is a big problem for LA beaches, report researchers with Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization in the area. Scientists...
JAN 15, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 15, 2020
We need flexible Marine Protected Areas
The laws that apply to much of the world’s international waters are out of date – that’s why world leaders are hard at work to improve th...
JAN 26, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 26, 2020
The Life of an Arctic Squirrel
There is no overstating the fact that the Arctic Tundra is a cold and unforgiving place. There are few plants or animals that can survive in this extremely...
JAN 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 27, 2020
This Octopus Emerges From the Water in Search of Food
Most octopuses live and breathe underwater, just like the vast majority of other marine animals. But this octopus endemic to Australia has a special abilit...
JAN 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 28, 2020
A Slug Does All it Can to Defend Against Hungry Ants
Slugs are slow, and this makes them easy targets for predators however big or small they might be. Here, we see that a slug has been spotted by a hungry co...
FEB 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 04, 2020
Different Predators Work Together to Corral a Swarm of Sardines
When large schools of sardines materialize in the oceans, it can be a spectacular sight. In some cases, however, the sight can be so spectacular that it me...
Loading Comments...