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Around the World with solar power

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posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 12:25 PM
Around the World with solar power

With the recent fluctuations in oil prices, we also started to see how everything was interdependent on a global scale: Food prices not only rose due to a degrading relation between supply and demand, but also due to rising cost of transportation.
Being pushed at the brink of ruin, many people have started to feel that there should be an alternative way to power your car instead of feeding an increasingly out-of-control beast of corporate interest and greedy speculators.
The electric car (and specifically the perceived lack thereof) was a reoccuring subject here on the ATS, along with lots of speculation about suppression of technology by "Big Oil" and other, less plausible theories.

Yet, I'm very happy to say that there is actually hope. And it's not as far fetched as many may believe: the solar powered electric car.

“On 3 July 2007 I set off on my first journey around the world with a solar powered vehicle. Admittedly, as a regular citizen I cannot change the world but I can demonstrate to the world just how dire the global climate situation has become and how many sophisticated solutions to lower the greenhouse gases already exist, which bring with them many other advantages. So that we can have a better world and a more secure future. The solar taxi should rekindle hope and a zest for life, set an example to counteract resignation and stimulate reflection. And show that every single one of us can take a step towards preserving our planet.”

Quite inspiring, isn't it? But it gets better, that car is actually everything but a toy as it might seem at first glance:

- Freedom: To drive up to 400 km with the latest ZEBRA battery technology.
- Max. speed: 90 km/h
- Light weight: 500 kg (+ 250 kg for trailer)
- Energy efficient: Consumption of 8 kWh/100 km (equivalent of 0.8 l petrol / 100 km)

And this is what makes that baby interesting for every-day survival. You won't have to spend tons of money for gas that you could use for your mortgage, food or ammo. Additionally, after you've bugged out, you have a clean source and storage of electrical energy in your bug-out-location. You can recharge the batteries of your night vision equipment, radio, flashlight and EO-Tech holosights without depending on finite resources. And, if deployed in a smart fashion, without fear of too much of a heat signature.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, there are some issues, like the fact that the car can't yet produce enough power itself for extended long range drives:

While the Solartaxi uses electricity from 100% renewable energy and releases no emissions into the atmosphere, Palmer notes it's able to draw only half of its power from its trailer of high-efficiency Q-Cells solar cells.
For the other 50%, solar cells on top of Palmer's home in Switzerland collect power that's eventually fed into an international power grid. In exchange, Palmer can plug into power sockets along his route to take as much as he contributes to the grid.
"A solar car is a perfect way of transportation," said Palmer, noting that even today's hybrid cars cut gasoline use by 20%, while solar cars are 100% gasoline-free.
However, I'm pretty confident that the performance can and will be improved, as development of batteries and solar cells continues.

Different sources state different prices for the whole car, but I think, this report shows a realistic price range:

When asked what the cost would be to have such a car complete with the home charging system, Palmer said that it can be mass-produced for about $10,000. He said solar panels sufficient for powering the car would be as little as $10,000.

"The technology is available now and affordable," Palmer stressed.

And according to the same report:

Palmer, when asked the question, confirmed he met with the General Motors team that is developing the Volt electric car for GM.

"We were very well received by GM," Palmer said. "We have no enemies there."

Wouldn't it be cool if this piece could actually make it to mass-production? I'm gonna keep those guys in sight and when they get to the stocks markets, I'll make damn sure that I get my fair load of shares.

I whish you all a happy reading

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 02:59 PM
Alright, looks like I somewhat missed the trend here.

Could a mod please move this thread to the "Science & Technology" forums? Maybe it will spark more interest there.

Thanks in advance.

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