Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

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Thread: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

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    Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle
    The Helia is going places.

    By Mike Brown on November 1, 2019

    A new electric car, packed with solar panels, promises to offer double the range of a Tesla Model 3 while using the same amount of energy needed to boil a kettle.

    Students from the University of Cambridge have developed the Helia, a four-seater electric vehicle built with the help of Formula 1 experts and a series of suppliers. Xiaofan Zhang, program director for Cambridge University Eco Racing, tells Inverse that the car uses 50 watt-hours per mile. The Tesla Model 3, by comparison, uses around 250 watt-hours per mile. That means where the Model 3 is advertised with a WLTP-tested range of 348 miles per charge, the Helia can reach over 560 miles per charge — and that’s without using the solar cells.

    On Friday, the team announced its return from the car’s first international race. The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge saw 13 teams travel the 1,864 miles between Darwin and Adelaide in Australia. Electrical issues stopped the Helia from moving past the race’s first stage, but judges gave it a third-place prize for practicality.

    “While the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge didn’t go exactly as we had hoped, it is still a tremendous achievement when you look back at the progress we have made over two years,” Zhang said in a statement. “The conditions this year were particularly challenging and this is the first time this model had competed. Nevertheless, Helia’s performance numbers showed her to be very competitive; it bodes extremely well for future events.”

    Cambridge University Eco Racing has an impressive history. The 20-strong team of students was first founded in 2008. It built Affinity, a single-seat solar car that drove from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, the two furthest points on the island of Great Britain.


    Just over a decade later, the team’s latest car packs an even more powerful punch. It can travel at 50 mph using just 2.5 kilowatts, around the power of a kettle. It has a top speed of 75 mph, making it suitable for the highway. It has an ultra-lightweight carbon fiber chassis that means the whole car weighs just 1,200 pounds. The Model 3, by comparison, weighs 4,072 pounds.

    “It’s incredible to see how electric vehicle technology has developed so far in such a short space of time,” Zhang says. “These innovations have allowed us to build a four-seat car that is much faster, more efficient and practical.”

    Although it’s chargeable from a conventional source, the Helia’s most unique feature is its five square meters of solar panels. These silicon solar cells boast 25 percent efficiency. It’s paired with a lithium-ion battery that offers higher energy density than most production cars. The team was able to get even more out of the components thanks to engineering expertise from its partners Formaplex, Bridgestone and Danecca.

    While the panels failed to get the car across Australia at the most recent challenge, the team is aiming for future solar car competitions in Europe and beyond.

    The project comes at an exciting time for the world of solar cars. Sono Motors is developing the Sion, a five-seater set to enter production next year that offers 158 miles of range, with solar panels adding an extra 21 miles of charge per day. Lightyear is developing the One, a more expensive vehicle that can run for 450 miles and add 7.5 miles per hour to the battery through its solar panels.


    https://www.inverse.com/article/6061...-beating-range
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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    How tough is it? Because it looks to me like maybe a good hail storm might be the end of that thing.

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by 1958carnut View Post
    How tough is it? Because it looks to me like maybe a good hail storm might be the end of that thing.
    LOLZ! Yeah, that's just the beginning. Especially if you don't live in Australia and have plentiful sunlight and flat roads.

    It weighs 1200 lbs. It looks like it's maybe 50-55" high max. It's not a ute. I'd guess its cargo capacity is, shall we say, a bit limited. And will it boil a kettle, whatever in hell that's supposed to mean.

    "Energy of a kettle." I've known a few kettles, and none of them had much energy.
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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Very cool, but a lot of technological hurdles to be able to get a workable/affordable version of this into the consumers hands. Carbon fiber needs to come down in cost, those batteries sound like they are even more expensive than the ones used in current electric cars, etc.. And as 1958carnut said, looks pretty flimsy - I imagine my wife slamming the door and the whole thing falling apart!

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    I asked Elon what he thought of this upstart and he said "The Helia say!"

    As for myself, I fervently hope this thing makes it. Then I won't have to put up with any more bitching about the poor rear visibility of a Camaro. The Helia I say!
    It sounded pretty good until I actually said it.

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    now imagine that "car" with a SMALL diesel engine 90+ MPG?

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    now imagine that "car" with a SMALL diesel engine 90+ MPG?
    You mean, like, talk about the real world? OMG!!
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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    That's great. Though obstacles, nothing innovative can grow up or be accepted easily. I 'm looking forward to the road running with all solar cars.

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    You know those people that bought the 100 mpg carburetor and killed it off? I believe they will buy this car and we will never hear of it again.

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    You know those people that bought the 100 mpg carburetor and killed it off? I believe they will buy this car and we will never hear of it again.
    This is why patents need to be either abolished or reformed. You can't buy the patents and prevent people from developing a better technology, this is criminal. No one can own the work of human ingenuity, certainly not if they intend to lock people out of it.
    26 + 6 = 1

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by Self Reliance View Post
    This is why patents need to be either abolished or reformed. You can't buy the patents and prevent people from developing a better technology, this is criminal. No one can own the work of human ingenuity, certainly not if they intend to lock people out of it.
    I think you missed the whole thing... There is no 100 MPG carburetor...

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    I think you missed the whole thing... There is no 100 MPG carburetor...
    He misses almost everything.
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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    I think you missed the whole thing... There is no 100 MPG carburetor...
    Correct. It's actually GDI.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    You mean, like, talk about the real world? OMG!!
    The real world, you say? Look just below this response and you'll get all of the real world you can handle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronslatly View Post
    That's great. Though obstacles, nothing innovative can grow up or be accepted easily. I 'm looking forward to the road running with all solar cars.
    It sounded pretty good until I actually said it.

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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by IROCNROL1 View Post
    Correct. It's actually GDI.



    The real world, you say? Look just below this response and you'll get all of the real world you can handle.
    And now a lot are going away from GDI. Guess it's the GD part, not working out so hot in the long run.

    The speaker could be onto something if he's about three, and comes from an extremely long-lived line, expecting to be around for another 100 years or so. Give or take.
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    Re: Electric solar car packs Tesla-beating range with the energy of a kettle

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    And now a lot are going away from GDI. Guess it's the GD part, not working out so hot in the long run.

    The speaker could be onto something if he's about three, and comes from an extremely long-lived line, expecting to be around for another 100 years or so. Give or take.
    Yeppers. Seems as a side effect port injection washes carbon deposits off the backsides of valves. Seems as a side effect, direct injection doesn't. One step forward, one step back.

    As for Ronald, I'll try not to be too harsh on him. I'm guessing his parents put him to bed early enough that he doesn't realize Mr. Sol takes the night off too. Or it could be that Ron firmly believes driving should be banned at night because nothing good happens in the dark. Except perhaps baby making, and I doubt that the birds/bees thing has been explained to him either.
    It sounded pretty good until I actually said it.

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