Solar Panels: Will They Ever Power Our Vehicles?

As solar power has matured as a technology, companies have started applying it to more than just supplying power to a building.
Using solar panels to power mobile vehicles, was the next logical step.

One of the first obvious uses for solar power was on NASA vehicle. Although not used for propelling the vehicles, it gave power to on-board facilities. It did inspire the idea though, how the solar panels could ultimately drive the vehicle.
With the current popularity in hybrid cars, the next logical step is to look into solar panels and see if they can be made efficient enough to drive a vehicle such as a car.


PHOTO CREDITS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/3453720731/

The biggest problem we face at the moment with solar panels been able to the producer powerful vehicle, is that current solar panel technology is simply not powerful enough to provide enough electrical power to drive something like a car. The amount of solar panels needed to get usable power would cover a small garden. Therefore the technology needs to advanced enough to make small enough solar panels which output a hell of a lot electricity.

Research into areas like quantum dots are currently being looked into. These are nano sized robots with the ability to convert all sunlight into energy. They are small enough to be used within a vehicles paintwork to generate electrical energy. It will be many years before we see this technology, but the principle is being developed.
Other areas such as solar stacks are being tested, but these will apply more to powering the building than a vehicle.

While we currently wait the solar technology to get the point where it can power a vehicle, companies are currently looking into hybrid vehicles. These will be partly run by an alternative energy source and half run by traditional fossil fuels.
It’s some manufacturers have invested heavily into hybrid vehicles, but the take-up has been slow up to now.

The other big question is how these vehicles will be repowered.
We all take granted that we can just pull into a petrol station, fill up our cars and off we go. The petrol station infrastructure in every country has been around for many years. so the question is how do these petrol stations get slowly converted to provide alternative energies.
We currently have LPG at a lot of petrol stations, but not every petrol station in the land supplies LPG.

So until refilling stations become numerous, people will not be easily convinced into buying a vehicle when they can only refill at a few stations.
It will be sooner rather than later that will see vehicles to be even partly powered by solar technology.
With such a free and abundant energy source it seems obvious to try and harness this power in some way. The question now is how to make the most efficient use of the Sun’s energy.
For the short term, it will be hybrid vehicles that make use of alternative energy sources, including solar power.

We will just have to wait and see the when the day comes that we can drive around in a car that is completely powered by the sun’s rays.

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