How expensive would it be to build a car that is powered strictly by solar energy?

How expensive would it be to build a car that is powered strictly by solar energy?
and also by the energy generated by its wheels turning while moving. Of course I understand that it would have to be able to store the solar and kinectic energy to be used later on demand..

I know this is possible, but I would like to know how much you think it would cost, and the reason for that is to find out how far away we might be from having a production car like this.

8 thoughts on “How expensive would it be to build a car that is powered strictly by solar energy?”

  1. Your question is too vague. The cost really depends on how complicate you want your car to be. What size is your car? How much HP? How fast do you want it to run and for how long? Do you want a full size car or something like a go-cart?

    A motorized wheel chair is in the sense an electric car. Instead of using 12V batteries, you can use 2-6V batteries. That gives you much higher current capacity. Of course you can use 6-2V batteries. Those 2V batteries used as backup at power generation stations have current capacity of 1728Ah.

    If you are to build toy solar-powered electric car and store the power in batteries. I would say the cost is about $1,000.

    My friend’s son has a toy electric car using rechargeable batteries. That toy cost about $350. Instead of charging it with the AC charger, you can use the solar panel. It’s sold for $59.99.

  2. Warren W- a Mormon engineer

    You are better off buying a gas guzzler and using solar power to run your XM radio!

  3. Depends how much power you are planning to use. Solar power isn’t very efficient. You are going to need a LOT of panels to make it operate; plus the vehicle will not go anywhere near as fast as a gas powered car.

    Similar story with hyrdo-electric power, similar story with wind.

    Coal may in fact be slightly better than any of the above choices, but will be a very unclean output…

    How about nuclear power–fission? Or does that conjure up images of a car turning into Churnobyl?

  4. A modestly powered car would use perhaps 60 horsepower, or 45 kilowatts. At $10 a watt, the solar plant would cost less than half a million dollars. The cells would cover an area of around a thousand square feet.

  5. college students do this every year . in a solar race the costs ranged from 40,000 to 1.8 milion dollars

  6. It isn’t a matter of expense, it’s a matter of physics – solar energy at noon on a bright clear day at middle lattitudes is only about 100 watts per square meter. One horsepower is 755 watts, and an average car has a top surface area of maybe 7.5 square meters, so there’s only about 750 watts or 1 horsepower available from the sun. 1 HP is nowhere near enough power to accelerate a 1-ton car at a reasonable rate, and top speed would be maybe 10 or 15 mph, if very skinny high-pressure tires were used. But it’s even worse than that – the best (and most expensive) solar panels available right now, like used in satellites and the ISS are only about 30% efficient. So your car is now down to 0.3HP.

    Money is not the problem.


    Storing the energy in batteries, huh? Okay, then this car will need to be exposed to 25 hours of bright midday sunlight in order to have enough energy to supply 15 minutes of 30 horsepower.

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