Cars and solar-powered boats. It just works.


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Автомобіль на сонячній енергії
Автомобіль на сонячній енергії

A car that requires no gasoline or outlet. Sounds like fiction, doesn’t it? In fact, it is fantastic and you will not be able to drive a jeep that has only a solar panel and an electric motor. Just the maximum power, for example, Tesla Model 3 reaches 615 kW, which allows this car to accelerate to 100 km / h in just 2.6 seconds. And this is a very good result even for a sports car.

Tesla Model 3 — Вікіпедія

An ordinary car has an engine with an average power of 100-150 horsepower or 75-107.5 kW. But the solar panel with an area of ​​2 square meters, just about the area of ​​the roof, in broad daylight will give only 400 watts of power. That is a little more than half the horsepower and to accelerate a car weighing several tons by the sun alone will not work. Thrust will be about as much as one weightlifter instead of 100 horses.

Do solar cars have a chance?

Installing solar panels on cars themselves is not a good idea. The angle of such a panel will always be not optimal, and the buildings and trees standing on both sides of the roads will cut off even more of those crumbs of energy. But there is a solution that will definitely work. For example, the same company Tesla offers to use electric trucks. Thus, freight will be much cheaper, because solar power plants can be located at bus stations. And arriving at the bus station, the truck will not only leave the cargo and receive a new one, but also recharge or replace its battery with a fresh and fully charged one.

Startup Neuron EV Unveils New Pickup Concept Before Tesla Truck ...

Can I DIY a solar electric car myself?

In short, yes! Of course it will not be a car in the usual sense for us. But to make a small electric car that does not need a gas station or socket – is quite real. And this was proved by his “Do It Yourself” video YouTuber Mark Gavier.

All he did was install four 1,000-watt bicycle motors on a sturdy metal frame and make a roof out of 200-watt solar panels. To store electricity, he used conventional 48-volt batteries for electric bikes with a capacity of 10 ampere hours. According to him, his light electric car can travel up to 20 km on one battery, and this battery is charged for about 2-3 hours on a sunny day.

Of course, this is not the optimal transport for the city. But the use of such transport on large enterprises, farms and villages could save a lot of time. Or, for example, such a car can be used as a golf card. The advantage of such transport is the absence of the need to refuel it, the absence of engine noise and relative reliability.

The price of the project was 2000 euros. But if you use cheaper components, you can reduce the cost of the electric car at least 2 times. In addition, it should be borne in mind that this is a prototype.

Solar yachts

On the other hand, electric yachts, which can also run on solar panels, have long been a reality. Even a small yacht has enough deck and roof area for superstructures to accommodate a solar power plant up to 10 kW. And this is a good power. Of course, you should not count on jumping on the waves like on a boat, but to accelerate to 7-10 km / h is quite real. And this is a good result for a regular yacht.

Currently, the best option is to use solar panels and batteries to power the shunting engine of the yacht with a mast. That is, when leaving the harbor, passing under bridges and in calm, you can use an electric motor, and the rest of the time – the force of the wind. Meanwhile, the solar power plant will provide the necessary energy for lighting, cooking, powering navigation, control and communication devices.

Another example is the use of a combined system from a powerful solar power plant, a high-capacity battery, and a backup diesel generator. Typically, such a yacht can move at a speed of 12-14 km / h for more than 4 hours on a single battery. In sunny weather, whose time increases significantly. And if you add stops for rest and diving, the solar energy is enough for a small tour.

Reducing the scale, it is quite effective to use solar panels for traction on small fishing boats only a few meters long. In this way you can get a pretty decent quiet river transport, although not too fast.

On the other hand, scaling up and building solar-powered tankers and container vessels is an unrealistic task. The problem is that the heavier the ship, the more water it displaces and the more water it resists. Thus, the MV TransAtlantic 100 meters long, capable of transporting 5,000 tons of cargo, has a power plant with a capacity of 3.6 MW or almost 5 thousand horsepower. If even the entire deck area is covered with solar panels, the resulting power will be only 10% of the required.


Transport is purely solar-powered – it is actually unrealistic. And all because of the fact that the maximum flux of solar radiation at sea level reaches 1020 W / m2. And even panels with 100% efficiency would allow to receive power in 3-4 horsepowers for the car. But even the 1908 Ford Model T had a 20-horsepower engine. It is a radically different matter if you use stationary solar power plants to recharge your car. And this, by the way, will not just be, but is already a much cheaper alternative to gasoline.


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