Solar Cars Project Report

A solar vehicle is a type of motor governed fully or partially by direct solar energy. PV cells are placed in a solar panel which converts solar radiations into electrical energy. Solar vehicles are not in trend nowadays but it can imagine that by looking at the advantages these vehicles will hold the market in few upcoming years.

Design of solar cars

Electricity fuels the battery that runs the car’s motor. The charger is connected to the grid to charge the battery. The electric motor is the propulsion source for a solar car. A bidirectional DC/DC converter joins the battery to a heavy voltage car and it is also used to deliver the energy back to the battery during regenerative breaking events. [1]

Need of Solar Vehicles

Today conventional vehicles (CVs) cover the major portion of the transportation sector, they use petroleum as a source of energy. Whereas population explosion and increase demand for petroleum resulted in the shortage of petroleum and it one of the main issues worldwide. So, petroleum costs are becoming higher day by day. Another problem is, these vehicles are accountable for the introduction of the bulk of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which makes it very unfavorable from an environmental point of view. In this situation, one of the most attractive solutions is electric vehicles or zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Though limited energy density battery packs available in the market are unable to meet the ideal situation. These vehicles have short autonomy, low speed and very heavy battery packs hence resulted in reduced performance of EVs. Such issues can be resolved by solar-derived electric vehicles [2].

solar vehicles are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and sustainable solutions for non-renewable resources. These vehicles are the best alternative to both conventional as well as regular hybrid electric vehicles. they are equipped with sufficient onboard electric power to give the best mileage (40 miles per day) without using any fuel just by using solar energy. This results in a nominal use of fossil fuel to sustain additional driving beyond 40 miles. in this way greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced. on a global scale adoption of this modern invention, we can achieve the sustainable development goal by the safe use of non-renewable resources. [3]

Relevant Work

A study conducted by L. Eudy and A. Burke estimates that by the year 2018 the sale and market share of Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle will increase by 25 percent. conferring to this number the grid’s extra electric energy demand would be gone by 50 GWh per day for about 5 million plugin hybrid electric vehicles [4]. according to another study by Li et al., the conventional battery charging time will increase up to 7 to 8 hours. It would be very difficult then to accommodate these additional loads in the load curve without increasing the peak load. Additional charging energy demand will also influence the utility system. Photovoltaic panels’ installation is very easy on the rooftop of residential buildings and commercial units. this green technology has been introduced worldwide for energy generation. As one of the success stories Google has installed 9 MWh per day of PV on its headquarters. Thus, from the point of view of saving the environment, the solar charging plugin hybrid electric vehicles will be the most attractive solution. This case study was designed to run different electric vehicles that cover 40 miles of daily driving. The comparison was done among wind and solar electric vehicles which showed that solar electric vehicles were more efficient, cost-effective, and required less maintenance than wind electric vehicles.

Keeping the same autonomy, a comparison among different types of vehicles, such as conventional gasoline vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, plugin HEVs, and all-electric vehicles, will be presented. [6]

Advantages [7]

  1. Wind generation installation is not an easy task but the solar panel can be easily mounted at a place or rooftop.
  2. It is one of the sustainable options as by using solar energy we can save non-renewable resources for our future generations.
  • Solar energy is a green technology that results in zero-emission at the operational level. In comparison to conventional vehicles that burn fossil fuels and release a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, solar cars do not consume fuel hence no associated emission is observed [8]. They have reduction potentials of 99.7%, 99.8%, and 100% for sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides,
  1. It is one of the cost-effective solutions as solar energy costs us nothing. Capital cost is paid back in 1 to 2 years depending on the panel technology used. [9]
  2. The usefulness of this technology can be directly related to the solution of energy and the environment by sustaining the economy.
  3. Reduced charging costs make it economically feasible.
  • It is the best way to save non-renewable resources.
  • PV possesses an extra advantage, extra energy in the solar car system is ejected back into the grid. In this way, capital costs are justified.
  1. These cars have lightweight components like aluminum, they run more smoothly and fast as compared to conventional vehicles.

Limitations [10]

  1. These cars have no safe driving features and equipment like headlights, rearview mirror, and wiper blades. Improvement is required in chassis strength, brakes, steering, and secured batteries arrangement.
  2. These have less passenger space only for two people. Solar vehicles required a large surface area on the roof for the deployment of solar panels.
  • Capital costs are high as well as maintenance costs are also high. The efficient solar panels and batteries and their replacement are very expensive that need to be changed frequently.
  1. Solar panels only convert 5-30% of solar energy into electricity, which is very little.


Solar cars are very environmentally friendly and sustainable technology which is new and not very update this time. But increasing greenhouse gas emissions and climate shift is a global concern that should be addressed. By using solar energy (which costs nothing) we can minimize demand and stress on non-renewable resources. However, there is a need to work on the limitations of this emerging technology so that we can make safe the future of our generation environmentally and sustainable.


  1. Li, X., Lopes, L. A., & Williamson, S. S., “On the suitability of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) charging infrastructures based on wind and solar energy.” In Power & Energy Society General Meeting, 2009. PES’09. IEEE(pp. 1-8). 2009.
  2. Emadi, A., Rajashekara, K., Williamson, S. S., & Lukic, S. M. “Topological overview of hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicular power system architectures and configurations.” IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology54(3), 763-770. 2005.
  3. Eudy, L., & Zuboy, J. “Overview of advanced technology transportation, 2004 Update.”  Renewable Energy Lab., Golden, CO, DOE/GO-102004-1849. 2004.
  4. Burke, A. “Present status and marketing prospects of the emerging hybrid-electric and diesel technologies to reduce CO2 emissions of new light-duty vehicles in California. 2004
  5. Ye, B., Jiang, J., Miao, L., Yang, P., Li, J., & Shen, B. “Feasibility study of a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station model. Energies8(11), 13265-13283.” 2015.
  6. Li, Y. “Scenario-based analysis on the impacts of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles(PHEV) penetration into the transportation sector.” In Technology and Society, 2007. ISTAS 2007. IEEE International Symposium on(pp. 1-6). IEEE. 2007.
  7. Jeffery, S. H. I., Khan, M., Ali, L., Khan, H. A., Mufti, R. A., Khan, A., … & Jeffery, S. M. “The potential of solar-powered transportation and the case for solar-powered railway in Pakistan.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews39, 270-276. 2014.
  8. Zakariazadeh, A., Jadid, S., & Siano, P. “Multi-objective scheduling of electric vehicles in the smart distribution system.” Energy Conversion and Management79, 43-53. 2014.
  9. Nakata, T., Kubo, K., & Lamont, A. “Design for renewable energy systems with application to rural areas in Japan. Energy Policy33(2), 209-219.” 2005.
  10. Lobo, “Solar Cars – Pros and Cons | CarTrade Blog”,, 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 12- Jul- 2018].

Leave a Reply