Solar Cars – The Hottest Competition

SunPower aids the newest model in breaking the speed record

The race for solar power technology is becoming slightly ever more literal right now with the introduction of a new competitor for solar cars. This time around, SunPower has owned part of the spotlight since its technology is one of the driving forces behind some of the latest solar car designs.

The said new solar car design is named “Dawn” and was built mostly by students of the Prototype Vehicles Lab (PROVE) at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. The bright young inventors outfitted Dawn with only 600 SunPower solar cells. Nevertheless, Dawn was able to reach a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour (mph) on a Mojave Desert runway.

What makes Dawn an astounding achievement was that it actually broke the world land speed record for the fastest solar car. However, this only means that the competition is about to get more fierce between solar cars and their solar cell suppliers. At the moment though, SunPower is enjoying its contributions in helping a solar car project break a world record.

As for the solar cells which were used for Dawn, you would be surprised since PROVE reportedly used the same solar panels that SunPower uses commercially for its usual typical solar panels. The inventor group did admit that they refrained from using satellite-grade equipment and opted to use something more available and affordable, hence SunPower’s technology.

With that said SunPower’s technology certainly proved that it can supply the demands of high-performance vehicles. 65 mph is certainly no slouch and can actually pass for freeway speeds, meaning practical applications might soon be available in the foreseeable future, though it might still take a while for that to become a reality.

For those expecting solar-powered cars to be available for personal or even commercial use, then you might not want to hold your breath. Dawn, despite its robust technology advancements, is still not ready for regular roads. There is also the fact that the Dawn has been cut down to the bare minimum in order to keep the weight minimal. Additionally, Dawn also does not have a steering wheel and only has four wheels and room for a light driver. Right now, the technology is still in its early stages despite the progress of amazing inventors, but that may soon change.

SunPower definitely has something to do about that since each of the company’s new technologies should pave the way for a better and more powerful solar car. Apart from Dawn, SunPower’s solar cells have also contributed to the success of the first solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse 2 which was the first solar plane to fly around the world two years ago.

The solar power industry leader certainly does not plan to stop there and will keep trying to break new grounds both in residential, commercial, and technological uses of its solar energy technology. Dawn, is just the start of something bigger in the future, something which SunPower is definitely prepared for.

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