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7 modern solar-powered vehicles

By: Bryan Nelson on July 29, 2013, 5:01 p.m.
Turanor Planetsolar

Photo: Maxim Massalitin/Wiki Commons

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Turanor Planetsolar

Sailboats, which have been used for millennia, might be the most widely employed form of fuel-free transportation. It is probably no surprise that the solar boat was developed out of that tradition.

Perhaps the most decorated solar boat is the Turanor Planetsolar, which became the first solar electric vehicle to circumnavigate the globe in 2012. PV panels cover a surface area of more than 500 square meters, and the boat can carry a crew of as many as 60. Though its average speed is around 5 knots, it is capable of reaching 14 knots.

Since claiming its title as the first solar vehicle to circumnavigate the globe, the ship has been commissioned as a scientific research vessel. It is currently cruising the Gulf Stream to study the role of atmospheric aerosols and phytoplankton in regulating climate.