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Today, consumers are reluctant to purchase electric cars for the fear of a lack of range and an increase in their electricity bill. But if the batteries could simply be recharged using solar energy, we would definitely be taking steps in a new direction. Regardless of the expectations, this ambition is not utopian: manufacturers are already betting on sustainable and renewable energy options for automobiles of the future.

 

Driving for free is now possible with solar energy

Sono Motors, a German start-up, is actively working on the prototype of an electric car with solar panels on the bonnet and the roof. In total, no fewer than 330 photovoltaic cells capture energy which allows the vehicle to be driven for 30 “free” kilometres.

Although, the model is yet to be fully solar-powered; the Sion battery by Sono Motors is a hybrid model. it is a classic lithium-ion battery with a range of about 250 kilometres, and there are additional solar panels recharged to accommodate 30 kilometres extra in a manner that is ecologically responsible.

Sono Motor’s Sion car. Photo: Sion Motors

Excluding batteries (which cost about 4000€ and are available at the points of sale or rental), this model will sell from 16 000€ and production should start by summer 2019. The brand has received close to 7 000 reservations for this new make.

 

800km after 60-second charge: the incredible range of solar batteries 

If we only consider vehicles that are currently flooding the market, we have reason to think that the potential of the solar battery is limited. But the fact remains that it is the future of electric vehicles as confirmed by Fisker Automotive Project and the prospects are promising.

The start-up manufactures purely solar-powered batteries. They charge quickly, with no risks of explosion even if they overheat.

According to the initial information provided by Fisker Automotive, these batteries would be more advantageous in the sense that will have higher capacities, both in terms of charging speed and range. In fact, they have promised no less than an 800-kilometre range after one minute of charging.

Fisker Automotive’s EMotion electric vehicle. Photo: Fisker Automotive

Experts remain sceptical about these affirmations. They maintain that it is imperative to wait before such products are deployed on a large scale and at an affordable price. Henri Fisker, previously a designer at Aston Martin and the director of Fisker Automotive, rebuts this and maintains that the time to do this has never been closer. In addition, he is developing batteries that are capable of withstanding 1000 charging cycles (compared to an average of 500 cycles found in most devices today).

 

Is a 100% solar-powered electric vehicle coming soon ? 

It is difficult, at the moment, to say when we can finally power our cars with solar energy without spending a cent. But many manufacturers and start-ups are working continuously on the subject.

 

The Lightyear One. Photo: Lightyear One

 

In the Netherlands, Lightyear One, a 100% solar-powered electric car, drives for up to 800km after a day of being in the sun. For the time being, one needs a modest sum of €120 000 in order to drive one of these, but more solutions within everyone’s grasp should be available in the coming years.

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