The jury is still out on solar cars. Some say it is the future of mobility, while others claim it will never take off.
One notable critic recently changed his stance. Elon Musk said in 2017 at the National Governors Association meeting that, “the least efficient place to put solar is on the car.” Now, Tesla's new Cybertruck offers the option to add solar panels for more range.
Either way, the naysayers aren't stopping big automakers and startups from developing the technology. There are some ideas where the payoff for success would be so huge that you must try.
1. Blending urban mobility and solar energy
Squad Mobility has just released the Squad solar-charging car. It is a car that uses solar's limitations as its strength.
Focused on urban mobility, the car goes at a maximum of 45 km/h, carries two people and retails at €5,750 ($6,335). Depending on demand and local legislation an 80 km/h version is also available.
“Our solar-electric Squad can charge up to 9.000 km per year in a sunny country with its own solar roof, making it completely emission-free for most users driving circa 30 km or 1 hour per day for 300 days a year in an urban environment," Robert Hoevers, Squad Mobility CEO said in a press release.
2. The "world's first long-range solar car"
Back in June, Dutch startup Light Year unveiled a prototype for what they call the first car capable of driving long distances powered only by the Sun.
The car, called Lightyear One, has a roof and hood made up of five square meters of integrated solar cells.
The solar panels are encased in safety glass, "so strong that a fully-grown adult can [safely] walk on them," the company claims.
3. An auto giant joins the game
Hyundai has joined the relatively new solar car industry with its new version of its hybrid car, Sonata.
The Korean car manufacturer says that between 30 and 60 percent of the vehicle's battery can be recharged by its solar panels.