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News features: Solar-charged driving

STELLA world's most practical solar-powered car


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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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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Analyst: EV and PV producers should team up


Rudy Summers poses in front of the family's three solar-charged EVs, a Chevy Volt, a BMW ActiveE, and a Toyota RAV4 EV. You can see the solar system that powers the EVs on the garage roof. [Photo Courtesy of Colin Summers]

An interesting article surfaced this week in PV.Tech, a web site devoted to covering the solar industry. In it, PV.Tech picks up on research conducted by Pike Research last fall that illustrates what SolarChargedDriving.Com, and, yes, others, have been saying for awhile: There’s a lot of potential for synergy between electric vehicle producers and the solar industry.

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Just .02% of U.S. drivers solar-charge an EV


Boulder, Colorado's Rich Becks is among the growing number of solar-charged drivers in the U.S. However, in terms of total drivers in the U.S., in powering his EV with solar, he's still among a tiny, tiny percentage who do so.

So, how many solar-charged drivers are there in the United States right now?

No one knows. Not even us.

That’s because no one is keeping track of this statistic, though SolarChargedDriving.Com has an ongoing, totally unscientific poll on our site (across the 2 ½ years our poll has been running, 205 people have either indicated they already are solar-charging an EV or that they plan to do so).

Putting aside the fact that no one is keeping track of how many people are solar-charging a plug-in car shows that EV + PV isn’t truly valued in American society – we survey/poll on things that matter to us on a broad social level, and we ignore those things that “we” don’t care about – we can make some reasonable speculations about how many solar-charged drivers there are in the U.S.

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It's 'Smart' to solar-charge an electric car


Real Goods Solar is giving away an Electric Smart Car + a 1.5 kW home solar 'gas station' to one lucky contestant.

Want to win a solar-charged All-Electric Smart Car?

Then you might want to consider entering the Real Goods Solar Smart Electric Sweepstakes. Real Goods will hand over the keys to an Electric Smart Car and install a 1.5 kW solar system to fuel the car to one lucky winner of its sweepstakes.

The contest shows, once again, that solar and electric vehicles are increasingly coming together, and that more and more solar installers get it, meaning they understand that plug-in electric vehicles are a boon for solar.

The contest isn't the first of its kind. Back in 2011 we reported that a UK solar installer, Planet Solar, gave away an all-electric Nissan LEAF to Charles and Val Willett of Lancaster :-)

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