Solar energy is a renewable resource that has gained popularity over the years to supply electricity to residential homes. With the hybrid electric cars gaining modest following in the United States, the idea of solar powered cars on the road in the near future is not far from becoming a reality, enthusiasts and experts say.
These cars get power from the sun by using solar panels mounted on top of the vehicle’s car and using solar cells to convert the stored energy into electricity. They are said to be able to travel approximately 250 miles on stored energy at 60 miles per hour.
However, despite the promises this invention are offering, critics are still not fully buying this notion. They have raised several disadvantages of making these cars commercially available. Here is a look at the benefits and drawbacks of solar powered cars according to critics and supporters.
List of Pros of Solar Powered Cars
1. They do not add to greenhouse gas emissions.
With the collective efforts of most nations, both developed and developing countries, the invention of solar powered cars becomes one of the most environment friendly innovations in the world. Since power will be coming from a renewable source, the sun, there is no need to burn fossil fuels to harvest energy needed to run the cars. This is one of the benefits supporters are claiming about these vehicles. And although there is no denying there might be some hazardous materials in the production of solar cells, these outweigh the advantages of having free energy source endlessly in long the long run. Conventional cars that use fuel emit carbon monoxide as they burn energy which add to air pollution and contribute to global warming.
2. They are cost-effective.
One of the advantages proponents of cars run by solar power maintain is the limitless supply of the sun and its being free. This breed of cars use direct sun energy which is free of cost that can be stored in solar cells, specifically photovoltaic cells that will be converted to electricity and make the car run without fuel. With this technology, there is no need to rely on fuel. Additionally, they do not require expensive maintenance costs since the solar cells have no moving parts, thus requiring minimal maintenance.
List of Cons of Solar Powered Cars
1. They are not totally environment friendly.
One of the contentions of critics is that although solar energy does not emit green gases, the production of photovoltaic cells used in these cars requires burning of fossils fuels to mine and fabricate the compounds needed by manufacturers.
2. There are hidden costs.
Opponents for solar powered cars say that it is expensive to manufacture solar panels and photovoltaic cells. Even replacement of these batteries is expensive. Consequently, if these cars will be available to the public, they will be pricey with reports of the cost reaching up to $200,000, a price hardly affordable for the average American.
Supporters are also pointing out that solar powered cars do not add to noise pollution. Critics, on the other hand argue that this is not a significant benefit saying these cars cannot be as reliable especially during bad weather and cloudy days. Despite the pros and cons presented by proponents and opponents, it is still interesting to know that someday, people will be driving cars without having to use fuel.