Tesla revolutionized the mainstream market in 2016 when it released the Model 3 sedan. The electric vehicle (EV) has a similar travel range to gas-powered cars. It also produces zero tailpipe emissions, which appeals to eco-consumers.
Environmentalists identified the sustainability limitations of traditional EVs and created technological advancements. However, one significant challenge with EVs is their power sources. Accessing a sustainable charging station is often challenging.
Challenges With EV Production and Uses
Conventional EVs receive some heat from eco-consumers because they focus on one sustainability challenge instead of a holistic approach. About 84% of the world’s power supply derives from fossil fuels.
Drivers who power their EVs with emission-producing electricity may contribute to climate change. Manufacturing facilities that rely on fossil fuels for power also generate greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the problem.
Another sustainability challenge relating to conventional EVs is their battery use. EVs contain lithium-ion batteries, and mining for lithium causes biodiversity loss, river salination, soil contamination, and other environmental damage. Engineers are targeting pollution-producing EV components to meet national decarbonization goals.
A team of researchers explored the challenges and developed a sustainable solution: an EV covered in solar panels. The vehicle requires zero external charging sources and produces no emissions.
Can Renewables Improve EV Sustainability?
There are three elements individuals may evaluate when determining solar-powered EVs. Sustainable goods and services improve the health of individuals, the planet, and the economy.
When people inhale greenhouse gas emissions, their risk of lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory diseases increases. The current transportation industry also minimizes carbon filtration systems by exploiting natural spaces for fracking and gas stations. Decreasing vegetation increases atmospheric degradation, contributing to health issues.
The global ecosystem benefits from solar-powered EVs because they prevent habitat destruction, temperature changes, and resource displacement.
One significant effect of climate change is heightened evaporation. Water displacement leaves regions in prolonged droughts as this rate rises. Insufficient amounts of water negatively impact animals, agricultural professionals, and people.
Solar-powered EVs can also improve global sustainability by creating more green jobs in various sectors.
Independent power sources increase transportation affordability because solar is the most cost-effective power source. This is another boon for its sustainability factor.
Are Solar-Powered EVs Efficient?
Engineers at Aptera Motors designed the solar-powered EV to meet consumers’ transportation needs. It’s more efficient than other vehicles on the road and has per charge, which is longer than any other car on the market.
Aptera’s EV also has a high acceleration range. Its liquid-cooled motor propels it to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, and it reaches 110 mph at full speed.
This EV can reach a full charge on sunny days and travel indefinitely. The only efficiency limitation involves varying weather patterns. Photovoltaic(PV) panels achieve 15%-20% efficiency rates on average. During the winter, limited daylight decreases a solar-powered EV’s efficiency. Some areas with high precipitation rates may also experience autonomous charging challenges. Despite all this, Aptera’s vehicles are more sustainable and efficient than their gas-powered counterparts.
What About Lithium Batteries?
Another sustainability challenge engineers are targeting is the lithium-ion battery. Environmental scientists are creating alternatives to produce eco-friendly vehicle batteries. One such material is sodium.
Saltwater batteries capture, store and discharge renewable electricity. The batteries are more sustainable than lithium versions because they are recyclable. Saltwater alternatives contain zero contaminants or heavy metals. They also have longer life cycles than traditional batteries. Enhancing a device’s longevity can minimize landfill waste and adverse mining effects.
Another sustainable EV battery alternative relies on magnesium, an abundant and cost-effective material. They function similarly to lithium-ion batteries, and they experience some charge rate deficiencies.
How Long Until Solar EVs Hit the Market?
After assessing the social, environmental, and economic benefits of sustainable technological advancements, individuals may wonder when Aptera’s vehicles will hit the market.
Aptera produced its first vehicle in 2009, which the Department of Energy (DOE) certified. The company could not secure certain loans and closed its doors in 2011. Now, Aptera ensures its EVs will soon hit the market by offering pre-orders.
The company may rely on the pre-order income to meet specific loan criteria. Aptera has yet to establish a vehicle release date.
The Benefits of a Solar-Powered Transportation Sector
One of the benefits of solar-powered vehicles is their high-quality performance rates. They have greater torque and reach higher speeds than gas-powered vehicles. EVs also produce little to no noise pollution.
Minimizing noise pollution is essential to preserving biodiversity. Roadkill rates are higher on highways because loud noises disorient animals. Many species rely on their hearing as their dominant sense. Their hearing helps them connect with their pack, locate food and find shelter.
Another EV benefit is their safety features. Electric cars accelerate, stop and turn more efficiently than gas-powered vehicles. Solar-powered EVs are safe for drivers, passengers, animals, and the global ecosystem.
New EV Advancement Policies
Engineers stepped up their design game when the Biden-Harris administration established strict decarbonization policies. One section of the Build Back Better plan targets transportation emissions. The U.S. plans to reduce tailpipe emissions by developing an EV-friendly infrastructure.
Transportation professionals are adding more EVs, electric buses, charging stations, and other technologies to the sector. The administration is targeting the transportation industry because it produces about 29% of carbon emissions. Increasing individuals’ access to EVs can shrink America’s carbon footprint.
Another section of the Build Back Better policy involves clean energy. The nation plans to create a carbon-neutral power sector and minimize fossil fuel emissions. Manufacturing more clean energy technologies may help America reach its sustainability goal.
What’s Next for Sustainable Transportation?
Many nations are establishing sustainable transportation policies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. EV companies are meeting global demands by developing other electric transit technologies. Space C and Tesla are working on a sustainable train system that quickly transports passengers without producing emissions. Other regions are creating electric buses to shrink the public transportation sector’s carbon footprint.
Nations that develop strict emission regulations can access the environmental and economic benefits for many years to come.