Material Engineers : A Pipedream? 

Solar-powered cars have been thought of by many as an impossible pipedream. But the innovators behind, a fully solar-powered vehicle to be released in 2019. 


A Car whose ability to use solar power has been thought of as an impossible feat.  Designed by the Dutch startup Lightyear, the “car that charges itself” can supposedly drive for months without charging and has a 400 – 800 km range. But is a solar-powered car feasible?Up until now fully solar-powered cars were not considered a realistic prospect, Solar Assisted Electric Vehicles (SAEVs) were considered the best possible option for solar cars, adding up to hundreds of miles to a cars range. But the Dutch Lightyear promises to topple the canon with a car that is not only fully powered by the sun, but also overcomes some of the conventional challenges associated with the technology, such as intermittency and low performance.

Five entrepreneurs have been prototyping and working out the kinks of their concept for years but, as long as the project remains an early-stage design, it is difficult to imagine that anyone would be capable of bridging the gap between SAEVs and fully-solar vehicles with record-breaking range

With the prices of solar and electric vehicle (EV) batteries predicted to continue falling even as the cost of fossil fuels rises, many industry experts  — are forecasting the inevitable rise of solar power in consumer and industrial markets. But those projected developments aren’t just in the residential energy sphere. The dropping costs, coupled with advancements in efficiency, may very well lead to a stronger likelihood of marketable solar-powered cars being developed in the near future.

First Solar Car Designed for Everyday Use

The first completely solar car designed for normal road travel, reached the U.S. in 2014. While it is a definitive leap in the right direction for solar-powered cars, the car does not reflect the aesthetic styling of traditional American sedans. What it does show, however, is that solar-powered vehicles are fully capable of competing head on with conventional vehicles.

The Solar Car can travel up to 500 miles on a single charge. It’s also the first vehicle of its kind created specifically for everyday family use. That update is significant because it shows the development of what was once a racing-only technology for the larger commuter market. Though this car may not be as nice to look at as other cars, it does show how manufacturers and researchers are beginning to meld performance and specialty technology for consumer use.

Solar Feature Integration Cooling System

In terms of solar automotive development, a model has offered a solar-powered cooling system. The ventilation functions separately from the vehicle’s motor and works to keep the interior of the vehicle cooled, even when parked. This smart feature, which automatically activates as soon as the interior of the car passes 68 degrees Fahrenheit, gives further insight into the future of solar power in consumer vehicles, especially in terms of aesthetic integration.  

Material Engineers Think About Current Solar Solutions for EV Owners

Although no manufacturers have fully committed to mass producing fully solar family-style sedans just yet, it’s obvious that the market is aware of the need for sustainable automobile options. Projects that Material Engineers have proven is the viability of solar energy within the transportation industry, and the push toward environmental consciousness won’t be letting up anytime soon. And whether or not the industry produces fully solar cars in the coming decades, one thing is certain: the future of sustainable transportation looks bright.