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How Eco-Friendly Can Cars Get?

Immortus Solar Car
The Immortus solar powered car.

Humanity can’t seem to sit still. From our earliest days in Africa to now we have always been on the move. In modern times there is no greater symbol for our mobility than the car. However, with the growing population and energy needs, how eco-friendly can cars get? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to find out.

Transportation and humanity go hand in hand. Bipedalism, which is deeply rooted in the ease of personal transportation, allowed our species to form. We quickly harnessed animals to help us move things around, explored the oceans on boats, and we’re even charting new landscapes of other worlds using brand new spacecraft. However, for day to day transportation, the story revolves around cars. In 1807, humanity began to explore the world of powered automobiles. Then in 1908 Henry Ford ushered in a whole new generation of car consumers when he introduced the Model T to the marketplace. This jump started the world’s fascination and love of the affordable-ish personal transit unit.

Currently there are over 1 billion cars driving around on Earth. These vehicles range from clean electric designs to the more archaic fuel-inefficient models reminiscent of earlier automotive technology. Regardless, however you look at it, all of these cars still require some sort of energy being derived from non-renewable sources. Except for one of them.

Australia’s Aurora Solar Race Team has introduced the world to the first ever fully solar powered sports car, The Immortus. This slick new design is created for maximum efficiency, reduced energy intake, and leaves room for your luggage. About 57 square feet of solar paneling cover the top of this car allowing it to soak up as much sun light as possible. In addition to this, the body is built to reduce drag including a frame that covers the wheels. The Immortus can go from 0 to 60 in about seven seconds, hits speeds of upwards of 90 miles an hour, and runs 100% off sunlight alone.

While driving, this car charges a battery which is used for cloudier moments, but when the sun is out it’s simply using the most sustainable power source in our solar system. When it gets cloudy The Immortus turns on the battery to power the car, but again, this is still 100% stored sunlight. The cost of this vehicle is currently $350,000 per vehicle. Keep in mind this is not a mass produced car yet. A single vehicle will cost that much to produce, but who knows how quickly this car could be replicated if consumers were to create a demand. Beyond the cost of the car, this vehicle eliminates the need for buying more fuel. Currently we individually spend nearly $2,000 a year on buying fuel. This spending could be offset by those that choose to go green and would help lower the demand and cost of fuel overtime. Vehicles such as these, though initially expensive, further the exploration of greener technologies. As our planet continues to grow so does its energy needs.

This car has received much accolade from around the world and will continue to be test driven and improved upon to further the capabilities of an eco-friendly personal transportation unit. Just imagine a planet full of easy access to transportation that does not contribute to CO2 emissions and functions reliably using nothing but solar power. What a bright idea!