Energy independent vehicles (EIVs) are being developed that will separate them from every charging port and fueling station.

Peter Harrop, chairman of the IDTechEx research and consultancy firm, said EIVs are in the testing phase and will be on roads in the next few years. They’re getting power through renewable energy such as solar and wind, Harrop said.

“They are energy independent vehicles, meaning they get their energy converting wind, sun and even rain,” he said. “You don’t have infrastructure at all.”

During a presentation at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Montreal in June, Harrop showed a sampling of vehicles – including cars, planes, and boats – and how they’ll be powered. Along with renewable power sources, Harrop said that advanced vehicle technologies will make them viable for wider adoption in the future. These technologies will include next-generation batteries, energy harvesting from multiple sources, lightweighting, smart materials, and what IDTechEx calls “structural electronics.”

“It looks like toys for boys and girls. It’s nothing of the sort,” he said to those who think they may be less than viable. “It’s coming, so don’t laugh at it.”

As part of the ongoing effort to bring them to market, Hanergy Holding Group, a Chinese company, unveiled four solar-powered concept vehicles outside its Beijing headquarters in early July. Hanergy said its EIVs are capable of traveling 50 miles a day off of five-to-six hours of storing sunlight.

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Solar-powered Stella Lux (see photo above) was developed by students at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands using carbon fiber and aluminum for light weight. According to the website,

“She is so efficient that she generates more energy than she consumes during the entire year, even in Dutch weather conditions!”

EVX of Melbourne, Australia said that its solar-powered sports car concept was developed from the World Solar Challenge Race. Called “Immortus,” EVX hopes to bring to make its concept car what it calls “the world’s first road legal solar electric sports car.”

Harrop predicts the first EIVs for passenger mobility will be microelectric vehicles or quadricycles. He predicts that more projects will be demonstrated late in this decade and early in the next.

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