Travelling 15,000 kilometres over 140 days and crossing Canada twice, Canadian Marcelo Da Luz broke the world record for distance travelled in a solar powered vehicle late last week.
Da Luz’s vehicle, called “XOF1” (Power Of One) beat the previous record of just over 13,000 kilometres set back in 2002 by an Australian team. The idea and concept of Power Of One was originally sparked in 1987 by the prestigious WSC (World Solar Challenge).
With an overall length of 5 metres, width of 1.8 metres and height of just .9 meters, the vehicle weighs around 300kg including the driver. XOF1 is powered by 893 Shell solar cells generating 900 watts of DC electricity and in terms of batteries, 3.996Kwh of EP Kokam Li-Ion Polymer cells were used. The engine, a brushless DC, 84-108V, NGM Corporation electric motor, weighs just 20 kilograms.
The rear brakes of the vehicle use regenerative braking, which is a mechanism that reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into electrical energy. The specially made tyres have a rolling resistance of about 2.5 kg per tonne compared to 11 or 13 for normal car tyres. This means to move a 1000 kilogram vehicle on a smooth flat surface would require a push force of 2.5 kg in the case of the solar powered car; compared to 11 to 13 kilograms for a 1000 kilogram car using a regular tire
Power of One can travel 200 kilometres on a single charge and has a top speed of about 120 kilometres an hour. The cost to build such a car? A whopping estimated half million dollars CAD. While we won’t be seeing cars like this on the market any time soon, the technology that goes into vehicles such as this are useful to car manufacturers looking to make electric cars that may be recharged by home solar power plants in the not too distant future.
Learn more about the Power Of One solar powered car project..