SolarWorld GT Begins US Leg of 21,000 Mile Journey

The SolarWorld GT has been labeled by some as the prettiest solar powered car ever built. It’s also on track to be one that makes history too, with a goal of covering 21,000 total miles, which would stand as the longest distance traveled by a single solar powered vehicle.

As the brainchild of Germany’s Bochum University of Applied Sciences and U.S. solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld, the two-seater incorporates photovoltaic panels in the roof, and began its remarkable journey last October.

It covered some 3,100 miles in Australia and New Zealand, before being shipped across the Pacific for its U.S. leg.

Beginning in Half Moon Bay, Calif., the U.S. portion of the trip – which covers approximately 3,700 miles and ends in South Carolina – will reportedly take 49 days, with receptions hosted by the driver and crew at five scheduled stops en route.

Once it has completed the U.S. portion of its transcontinental trip, the SolarWorld GT will be shipped to Europe to embark on the next leg, before moving on to Asia and eventually, back to Australia for the final installment of the record-breaking adventure.

Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas, said the idea behind the SolarWorld GT was to create “an ambassador for sustainable personal transportation, reminding us that the power to shift our driving habits from dirty fossil fuels is within our grasp.”

SolarWorld GT


  • MrEnergyCzar

    I’m sure many entities will be against this hyper-efficient vehicle…..

    MrEnergyCzar

  • scolas

    I’m surprised that they scheduled the U.S. and European legs for winter since I would think the cold and low sun angle would be obstacles to high performance of a solar powered vehicle.

    Even in sunny so Cal over this summer-like “winter”, I noticed that my solar Malibu lights barely come on at night whereas in the summer months thay stay lit almost until morning.

    I guess if the car performs adequate in the winter, it would be terrific when the sun gets a little higher.

  • KeiJidosha

    Bummer that this article come out the day AFTER the car was less than a mile from my house. Would so have liked to see this vehicle.

    http://www.hochschule-bochum.de/en/solarcar/circumnavigation/current-position.html

  • Capt. Concernicus

    This car would go a long way in the advancement and usage of solar panels on vehicles. To be able to use solar panels to actually power the car. Unlike what Toyota has with its solar panels on the Prius, it wouldn’t just help with the ventilation system. Powerful and more efficient solar panels could help recharge the battery in hybrids and EV’s and possibly power the wheels.

    But who knows. Maybe some oil company will buy the patents and never release any of it to the public.

  • AP

    Solar cars are cool technology, but they will always have to “sit and charge” to store up enough energy to propel themselves. The solar panels cannot absorb energy from the sun fast enough to keep up with the power required to drive the car. That’s why the Prius has only used it to power the ventilation system, which is a good use for the power.

    Another article on this website shows a huge solar panel on a ship. The panel only produces 50 kW (75 HP). A solar panel that could drive a car “real time” would be way bigger than a semi-truck.

    And Captain Copernicus, don’t worry about oil companies buying up patents and keeping them secret. That’s a myth. Patents are, by definition, public. You can read any of them at the Patent Office’s website http://www.uspto.gov.

  • Van

    As a publicity stunt, I like it.

    It would have been nice if the co-efficient of drag of the vehicle had been mentioned, because its looks are ok if indeed like 1940′s sedans.

    OTOH, foks can go across the USA on bicycles in much less time, with the fastest being about 5 days. So a car that averages just 75 miles per day must spend a lot of time parked and recharging.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    @AP,

    Patents have commercial value if they can be used to protect a profit stream by excluding others from making, using or selling whatever is covered by the patent’s claims.

    Hence if oil companies or other entities had the wherewithal to buy this technology they can withhold it from others. Why do you think Toyota has approximately 1,000 plus patents on the hybrid synergy drive? It’s made other automakers (Ford, Nissan) come to them to license their techonology by limiting what they could do.

  • AP

    Capt. Copernicus, my point is that if you think they are holding patents to themselves, you can find out.

    Patents are meant to encourage ideas to be disclosed, with the (reasonable) reward of exclusive rights for 20 years. If ideas aren’t protected no one will produce them. Many published patents spawn other ideas in the meantime, which may “get around” the orignial patent.