Grasshopper all-terrain vehicle harnesses renewable solar energy

Electric cars, though better than conventionally fueled vehicles, aren’t exactly emission-free if the electricity to recharge batteries is coming from a coal-fired power plant. To better the eco credentials of electric cars, auto designers have been conceptualizing electric cars that run on clean energy harvested from renewable sources. Auto designer Row 0 has also taken up the challenge to build a green electric car that runs on solar energy.

Dubbed the Grasshopper, the vehicle is an all-electric all-terrain concept that runs on battery powered electric motors. Though the concept still allows recharging of batteries through the conventional 110V electric socket, it also features a collection of solar thermal collecting pipes on the roof that convert heat energy into usable electricity.

The solar tubes extend the operating range of the vehicle by continuously recharging the onboard electric batteries. The playful vehicle has been designed to run at a top speed of up to 45mph for up to 1.25 hours on a single recharge. To better the energy harvesting capabilities of the vehicle and hence increase its operating range, the concept vehicle is painted with a special paint that gets darker when the car is in need of more energy.

A darker body will mean more absorption of solar heat by the onboard solar tubes, and hence more energy will be generated and transferred to the car’s batteries. Though the designer has high hopes for the electric car, we think that the car could have been much more efficient if the car’s wheels were a little thinner than what the designer has come up with. Broader tires increase friction, which could be better for an off-road drive when more traction is required, but they also consume far more energy than thinner tires.

Cheers! Row 0

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