Hybrids are cool but don’t be fooled into thinking those are the only energy efficient vehicles on the rise. Check out these stylish and innovative vehicles.
23. Koenigsegg Quant
This is a sweedish supercar that is fueled by solar energy and pyrite, which is commonly referred as fool’s gold. Despite the awkward combination, the Quant is the real deal and is slated to have a 300 mile driving range and only require 20 minutes to fully recharge.
22. Peugeot Shoo
Sleek triangular design and fueled by a solar paneled roof. If you think it looks similar to a boat you are correct. The designers were inspired by the aerodynamics of a modern boat and applied it to this concept.
21. Italdesign Giugiaro Quaranta
The Quaranta blends the best of Italian auto design with the brains of Japanese innovation. Italdesign created the car’s exterior and Toyota contributed the solar electronic assembly. Energy is collected from the roof panels and also the front end of the car.
20. Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero
It’s not an S-class, but the Formula Zero turns heads with its radical aesthetics and eco-friendly engines – as in every wheel has its individual engine powered by rechargeable solar batteries.
19. Antro Solo
This futuristic car comes from Hungary and gets 150MPG. The vehicle is powered from both solar and gas-electric power. With enough sunlight the Astro Solo can travel 25 kilometers on solar power alone.
18. SEAT Brisa
This cool bike-car hybrid is designed to enjoy a leisurely cruise, not perform a cross country road trip. One unique aspect of the SEAT is the fact the solar apparatus is placed beneath the translucent body.
17. Mindset Six50
Although the Six50 can travel 100KM on a single battery charge it is more attractive because of its low starting price of 31,000 Euros.
16. Lotus Eco Elise
Finally an eco-friendly car that looks like a real car people would purchase, right? Unfortunately this Elise is not a real solar powered car (it still burns a lot of gas), but the panels do help power the electronic components and the body is made from more sustainable components than normal.
15. The Eve
You may think Apple has made a solar car when you see The Eve. Beyond it’s cute exterior is an innovative design where the juice is harnessed from a coating on the windshield, not a normal panel. The car’s power is also supplemented from polymers that use the friction from the wheels to generate electricity.
14. The Enigma
The Enigma is one of the winners of the Royal College of Art’s Green Concept Car competition and is designed by Paul Howse. It looks fancy as hell but right now it is only a concept and may never be brought into real development.
13. Solar Flyer Motorcycle
Richard Gryzch decided to harness the sun to power his motorcycle. He named it after the Radio Flyer red wagons you probably grew up with. This motorcycle has a 50 mile range and Gryzch says it can go up to 90MPH.
Eric Raymond always wanted to build a solar powered airplane. He struggled at first but ultimately found support in Japan (who would have guessed?) and design help from Sanyo. After many years of development, the Sunseeker crossed the country in 121 flight hours during August 1990.
11. Solar Impulse
The goal is simple for the designers of the Solar Impulse: Cricumnavigate the Earth. The airplane is pretty close with just enough power to stay in flight with the aid of prevailing winds at high altitudes. There is 2700 square feet of monocrystalline solar cells on the exterior of this one man aircraft. It doesn’t hurt the project is led by Bertrand Piccard, who was the first person who go around the world on a balloon non-stop.
With the aid of multiple electric motors and an ultralight weight design, the Centurion is able to fly to 100,000 feet and 13 MPH. AeroVironment and NASA teamed up to build this airplane.
9. E-V Sunny Bicycle
According to developer E-V, this is the first all solar bicycle that is powered directly and only from the sun’s rays. Better grab a cool helmet to match.
8. Electrobike Pi
$7,500 will net you this innovative bicycle that can travel as fast as 20 MPH and 25 miles per charge. The engine is electronic and is charged via solar power when you purchase additional panels at a whopping $1,800 (it ain’t cheap to go green).
If you haven’t already heard about it, XOF1 is the world distance record holder for solar cars. It can drive on ice, at night and below freezing temperatures. Starting at the Great Lakes, it required 46 straight days of travel cross country to reach the Arctic Circle, setting a new distance record.
The 2030 concept is designed by Mihai Stamati. It seats four and can travel up to 20 MPH. Solar panels charge up two electric engines on this green mobile. While it is no Ferrari, the 2030 looks unique and is perfect for short bursts of travel. Leave it to the French to create the golf cart you always wanted.
5. Solar Wheel Chair
Not all green designs are made for young people. Check out this solar powered wheelchair that is slated to be cheaper than classic electric brethren. The question to ask, though, is what happens at night?
4. Solar Pedal Boat
This is a crazy pedal boat that uses a solar powered engine to make the leg work a bit easier. This is a hybrid alright, but unlike like your Prius, it is a hybrid of human labor and sun power. So you still gotta paddle.
The main problem with solar powered motorcycles is lack of surface area for charging panels. Spanish company sunRed finds a solution by creating a motorcycle that has an arc of panels like a shield to charge it while it is parked. Let’s hope the company can increase its travel distance farther than 13 miles.
This is the latest solar powered race car developed by Delft University of Technology. It won the 2007 World solar challenge in Australia, and is an upgrade from the previous model, Nuna3 that won in 2005. This thing is light as a feather and can reach 142 km/h.
The winner of the 2008 North American Solar Challenge is this yellow beauty. The University of Michigan developed this speedster and it was the schools’ fifth victory in the challenge. Most cars in this field were hitting the 65 mph speed limit the entire race.