Solar power is an awesome thing. If we can harness all the free energy that comes from the sun efficiently, we will have an unlimited supply of free energy that can be used for all sorts of things from powering our gadgets to running the AC system in our homes. Even Google is getting into the solar power business. One of the more interesting things that solar power is being used for is to power experimental cars. The Purdue Solar Racing team has unveiled its special racing car and the thing is very impressive.
The Purdue team car can achieve nearly 2,200mpg and competed in the 2011 Shell EcoMarathon that was held this week in Houston. The vehicle prototype the team fielded was called The Celeritas prototype. The car is small, but it is designed to hold a full-size driver (as opposed to the miniature version) behind the wheel in an upright position. The car also has headlights, taillights, a trunk and lots more things that your average car has.
The vehicle uses energy regenerative braking and has a suspension that can handle potholes. The prototype racer was able to generate so much power from the solar cells on its body that it was in danger of overloading the onboard batteries. The team says that in the future models of the car might have an AC system onboard to make the vehicle more comfortable. The car is street legal and the team has applied for a VIN number and a license plate. The prototype took a year to design and $90,000.