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First Pure Solar Vehicle Launched in China

The pure solar automobile "Tianjin" was revealed at the Big Data Center in Xiqing District, Tianjin, after more than five months of research and development. This is an intelligent networked car that actually achieves zero emissions, runs on just pure solar energy, doesn't utilize any fossil fuels or external power sources, and pioneers cutting-edge technology. This vehicle's solar module size is 8.1 square meters, its battery energy ratio is 330 Wh/kg, and its degree of autonomous driving is L4 or above.

According to test results, the "Tianjin" pure solar car can generate 7.6 degrees of electricity on an annual average every day in good weather, enabling a cruising distance of 79.2 kilometers.

The vehicle has the following additional details:

  • Seating for three plus a driver

  • Vehicle dimensions: 4,080 mm long × 1,770 mm wide × 1,811 mm tall (13.4 x 5.8 x 5.9 ft.)

  • Wheelbase is 2,850 mm (9.4 feet)

  • Body weight: 1,020 kg (2,250 lbs.)

  • Maximum daily power generation: 7.6 kWh on sunny days

  • Vehicle is equipped with battery pack with an energy density of 330 Wh/kg

  • Max tested range is 74.8 km (~47 miles)

  • Maximum speed is 79.2km/h (49 mph)

  • Carbon emissions can be reduced by 25 kg per 100 km (55 lbs. per 62 miles)

Although these specifications are not very exciting in comparison to a solar EV or any other EV, they are nevertheless fairly amazing given that they are fully powered by solar energy. To put it mildly, that is thrilling.

The "Tianjin" is not the first to make a daring attempt with solar cars, in actuality. Many automakers have been experimenting with solar energy as an energy source for a very long time. The F3DM model, which BYD released to the market in March 2010, offers a variant with roof solar panels. The automobile costs 20,000 yuan more than standard versions because it has a new roof-mounted solar battery charging technology.

The BZ4X, Toyota's first fully electric SUV, has an optional solar charging dome installed that can directly charge the battery using solar energy and provide the car an extra 1750 kilometers of driving range in a year.

The Dutch Lightyear Motor Company's "Lightyear 0," the first mass-produced solar vehicle in the world, just began road testing and revealed its pricing. According to the designer, the weather is enough if daily driving does not exceed 35 kilometers. Lightyear 0 can travel for 7 months without recharging under ideal circumstances. The "Light Year 0" price of roughly 250,000 euros and its excessively "perfect" energy supplement circumstances, however, did not succeed in popularizing this concept.

In contrast to the "Lightyear 0," which employs a hybrid energy augmentation strategy of "solar and direct charging," the "Tianjin" relies only on solar energy for its electrical needs. Some online users conjectured that the automobile could only be used in sunny climates. Netizens who favor the "Tianjin" have done so because they see it as a crucial step in China's technological advancement.

Industry insiders are not hopeful about the combo of "pure solar energy + vehicles," despite the fact that car firms have actively pursued it. The president of the Society of Automotive Industry, Jim Sack, an emeritus professor at Loughborough University, and an authority on automobiles, previously said in public: "Solar panels have not been an essential component of cars since they can only use a limited surface area for charging."

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, added that despite his support for solar energy, his firm has been avoiding the technology since "cars are the least effective place to use solar energy."

At the start of research and development, "Tianjin" was also hampered by the poor efficiency of solar energy conversion to electric energy. To do this, the "Tianjin" employs "space gallium arsenide solar cell technology" in addition to the solar panels used by the "Shenzhou XII" manned spacecraft and the "Tianhe" core module. These innovations can guarantee that the "Tianjin" will continue to produce power even in foggy weather.

Another opinion holds that the "Tianjin“'s marketization will be hampered most by the high cost of producing the vehicle, even if the issue of poor energy conversion rate is resolved. After all, the cost of "Light Year 0," which hasn't experienced many technological advances, has risen to as much as 1.76 million yuan, and the ultimate cost of "Tianjin" might be even higher. It requires going a long way to make it into a product that the general public will accept.

Later "Tianjin" will be employed for scenarios like campus commuting and touring.