While there are a number of EV advocates out there who recharge their cars using solar power, what about a car with solar panels, you know, built into it? As sci-fi as it sounds, we’re one step closer thanks to a team of Australian students that built a car they call the SunSwift eVe.
Running on a 130-pound battery pack and without the solar panels switched on, the SunSwift eVe was able to travel 500 kilometers, or about 310 miles, on a single charge, according to their school, the University of New South Wales. More importantly, it did this while meeting reasonable expectations of highway speeds, and in the process they (unofficially at least) beat a 26-year old solar car range record.
That in and of itself is an impressive feat, but SunSwift’s options are far larger than that. Within the next year, the team plans on meeting all of Australia’s safety regulations in order to start producing and yes, selling their solar-powered car.
What amazes me isn’t the range, or that the team was able to go 73 KPH/45 MPH on average, topping 60 MPH at parts. Rather it’s just how car-like this solar racer looks. Past solar vehicles looked more like UFOs than something you’d find at a car dealership, but the SunSwift isn’t too far removed from the look of some of the lower-slung supercars out there. Though I doubt it’ll be cheap, it makes the idea of one day driving a solar-powered car feel a lot more…possible, if not probable in the very near future.