How would it be not spending a dime on fuel? If you drive a soar-powered car, you can do this.
The idea of a “solar revolution” has been floating for a long time and is a very seductive promise that tiptoes to using the energy on a daily basis for our cars and not only.
Solar powered cars run on energy from the sun and they got their first recognition through the series of annual races that took place across Australia. The technology has developed and now people can charge plugin electric vehicles through solar panels installed on their homes or on the roof of their cars and also through photovoltaic cells.
Photovoltaic cells are made from special materials called semiconductors such as silicon, but there are also others. When light strikes these cells, the semiconductor material absorbs it and then the energy allows electrons to flow freely. Such photovoltaic cells have several electric fields that force electrons freed by light absorption to flow in a certain direction.
Silicon is one of the most commonly used materials for photovoltaic cells as an atom of silicon has 14 electrons with three different shells. The outer shell of it is half full with only 4 electrons, so the atom tries to fill up its last shell by sharing electrons with four nearby atoms.
This form is named crystalline structure and is essential for photovoltaic cells. Plus, the silicon in photovoltaic cells has impurities because it works better this way. If pure energy would be used, then a few electrons may break free of their bonds and leave their atoms.
The process of adding impurities is called doping and when silicon is doped with phosphorous, the silicon obtained this way is called N-type, “n” being for negative as there are many free electrons.
There is wide variety of solar panels and their price depends on how fast they can capture and convert the energy. For example, there are solar panels used for car racing, but in this case, they cost a lot.
A lot of improvements are made to solar powered cars every year and when more people can afford to buy hybrid cars, solar powered cars will be less expensive and more accessible.
Solar energy has several benefits such as:
- very low costs
- panels work silently
- no dependence on foreign oil
- no pollution
- technology is developing
- is very versatile as it can be used to grow food and fuel, light, heat and modulate the temperatures in our homes, disinfect and desalinate water
Disadvantages of solar energy
- high costs when it’s used as electricity
- large surface areas for achieving average efficiency
- silicon is very expensive
- weather and pollution can cut back its efficiency
- it isn’t always available on an hour-to-hour scale
- it depends on solar energy exposure
Solar powered cars have developed a lot since the creation of the first solar cell, but improvements are still necessary. Nevertheless, it seems that there is a wonderful bright future for solar energy to power our cars.
Here you can watch amazing solar powered cars: