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News features: Solar-powered driving

Electric airplane adds solar -- and range

solar-elektraThe Elektra One, a really cool electric airplane that can now fly up to 600 miles on a single charge, has received a solar upgrade that makes it even cooler.

Solar cells have been added to the wings and tail to provide a trickle charge that will give the e-plane’s charge a renewable energy boost.

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This solar car made it all the way to Arctic Circle

We just happened to come across something cool via RSS and Google Reader: A solar-powered car that made it all the way to the Arctic Circle.

In order to get there, the car, driven by Marcelo da Luz and built by a lot of people who “come from all walks of life”, had to drive through plenty of rough terrain, including some extremely muddy, pothole-filled roads in Canada’s Northwest Territories (check out the video above to see this!).

Called the XOF1, da Luz’ solar-powered car boasts some impressive specs. For instance, it can go 0 to 50 mph in six seconds, has a top speed of 85 mph, and has a range of 310 miles on a bright, sunny day. Of course, the unique and record-breaking performance comes at a pretty steep price: da Luz estimates it cost about $500,000 to build the XOF1.

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SolarWorld GT on solar-powered global journey

solar_world_gtA few years ago, Louis Palmer, a Swiss school teacher made an historic trip around the world in an electric car that he powered via solar electricity generated by a solar PV system he trailed behind the car.

Now, SolarWorld, one of the world’s leading solar panel producers, is trying to best that accomplishment. It’s worked to co-build a solar-powered car that has PV integrated into the body of the vehicle rather than in a trailer behind it, and which it is hoped will become the first solar car to circumnavigate the globe.

The two-seat SolarWorld Gran Turismo started its 21,000 mile global journey in October in Australia before moving on to New Zealand. This past week, it arrived in the United States where it will travel on solar electricity alone 3,774 miles from California to South Carolina.

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Youth contest promotes vision for solar world

planet-solar-contestPlanetSolar, the team behind the TÛRANOR solar-powered worldwide cruise, is hosting a contest called “Imagine a Solar World” until the ship’s arrival in Monaco in Spring 2012.

The contest asks young people under the age of 26 to participate in one of six categories of solar-based activism: Astrid (action/leadership), Felix (writing), Enia (fashion), Duti (art), Bouba (music/video) or Luu (design, architecture and technology.)

A group of communication professionals gathers at each stage of the expedition in order to determine the top 60 most visited projects since the last stage. These are considered the contest “winners.”

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A 'luxurious' solar-powered eco boat

solar-boat-wooden

The Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Solar Electric boat. [Photo Credit: BearMountainBoats.Com]

As Canadian-based Bear Mountain Boat Shop proved recently, solar energy can be used for more than just cars.

Owner Ted Moores worked together with designers Steve and Jonathan Killing in order to create one of the first solar-based, low-emission recreational cruisers in the world.

The boat (affectionately named “Sparks”) is a 30-foot long hybrid electric cruiser designed in a stylistically vintage manner.

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