Eco Cars: MIT’s Eleanor solar-powered car does 90 mph
Eco Factor: Car powered by solar energy developed by MIT.
The oldest solar electric student team in America, MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team, has unveiled their next-gen solar car known as the “Eleanor.” Costing a whopping $243,000, the solar car will compete in the tenth World Solar Challenge, an endurance race covering nearly 2000 miles of Australian outback.
The car has been made of lightweight yet strong materials like carbon fiber, which allows it to get the most out of its solar cells. With six square meters of monocrystalline silicon solar cells, 580 cells to be precise, the car generates 1200 watts of solar electricity, which is stored in exactly 693 lithium-ion cells. The research team states that the car can run all day on a sunny day at a steady cruising speed of 55 mph. On a cloudy day the car’s battery system can still provide enough energy to get it from Boston to New York. Propulsion comes from a 10-horsepower hub-mounted motor driving a single rear wheel.
The Dark Side:
The car does show the potential of solar energy, but the overall shape and the size of the car don’t make it a practical city-driving car.