SolarChargedDriving.Com news features

piece of paper with writing on itOur news features section comprises the heart of SolarChargedDriving.Com. Here, we publish news content focused on various aspects of the fascinating and potentially revolutionary synthesis between solar power and electric driving. We zero in on general news and information, people, and companies and products from both the solar and EV and PHEV worlds. But some of our content is more general. For instance, we cover news, information, people, companies and products in the fossil fuel realm as well, though we do so from a critical -- but also multiple-perspective -- angle.

STELLA world's most practical solar-powered car

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STELLA, a 100 percent solar-powered car, and Lex Hoefsloot, a member of the student-research team at Eindhoven Technical University in The Netherlands. [Photo by Albert Graham]

albert-grahamFor years, genuine solar charged driving or in-situ solar charged driving, took place relatively unnoticed on back roads and special racetracks far removed from the main highways and byways of America. Sleek, aerodynamic (mostly teardrop shaped) cars covered in solar panels silently zipped along in competitions with vehicles mostly piloted by university students and weekend hobbyist. 

The vehicles, sometimes just barely large enough to fit one average sized person inside and a little sturdier than light framed bicycles,  placed maximum emphasis on speed and distance traveled with a lesser degree of emphasis placed on passenger comfort.  After all, the objective was to just arrive at the finish line in the quickest time possible. 

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Testing a Twizy at EV 'Disneyland' in Paris

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The Renault Twizy in Paris. [Photo Courtesy of M. Brice BELVEYRE, Centre Renault Z.E.]

albert-grahamI recently had the pleasure of visiting the Renault Z.E. Center located on Ile Seguin, (Boulogne-Billancourt) just a few minutes outside of Paris.  The Z.E. stands for Zero Emissions – a reference to Renault’s popular line of Electrical Vehicles (EVs).

At the Center, Renault showcases all of the vehicles which make up their Z.E. line of cars – The Renault ZOE (5-door hatchback), The Renault Fluence Z.E. (4-door saloon small family car), the Renault Kangoo Z.E. (a small utility van which is used extensively in France for deliveries) and the Renault Twizy (more on this one in just a bit).

Unique in France, and a first in Europe as well, the center has a 2 km driving track (with small hills, sharp turns and even the eventual traffic signage and traffic light! ) which permits extensive testing of the vehicles under real road conditions - all while remaining off road.

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Mr. President: We can drive our cars on sunshine

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Long-time electric vehicle and solar supporter Paul Scott is spending more than $30,000 of his own money so that he can bring the renewable energy + EV message directly to President Obama.

paul-scottIf you had something important to say to the President, how much would you spend to get his ear?

On June 7, I'll be eating lunch with President Obama for $32,400. Two dozen other high-dollar donors will be there, but I'll be the only one in the room who does his own laundry. I'm not wealthy--I'm spending a large percentage of my retirement savings, at age 60, to sit at the table.

Why?

Because it's a deeply troubling time in our country and in our world. Whether you choose to believe it or not, climate change is a greater threat to life on Earth than at any time in modern history.

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Tesla's solar Supercharger network gets better

You gotta hand it to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk: He knows how to make Tesla look good, and the competition look, well, just plain behind the times.

Tesla's quickly building out its network of solar-powered EV charging stations at which Tesla Model S owners can fill up on clean, green sunshine for free. In fact, soon -- no later than 2 years from now -- you'll be able to drive across pretty much all of the lower 48 in the U.S. and not pay a dime for your fuel.

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Spring means more solar-charged EV miles

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The back of Tom Moloughney's BMW ActiveE with his home's solar gas tank, aka his home solar PV system, in the background. [Photo Courtesy of Tom Moloughney]

Now that spring has rolled in the temperature isn't the only thing that's going up: So is my solar electric production.

My 8.775 kW system can produce up to 60 kWh a day under ideal conditions. That's enough to power my all-electric ActiveE over 200 miles, or enough to power it about 100 miles and supply all the power my house needs for an average day.

Pretty cool stuff. Powering my car and my house for the day on pure sunlight is really awesome.

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