John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A London designer gives the staid solar car a badass, stealth-bomberlike makeover.
The problem with solar cars is that, with a few notable exceptions (hello, SolarWorld Gran Turismo!), they look like unwieldy science-fair projects running on V8 HyperNerd Drives. Forget the sun's rays, these squished-down golf carts and buffet-tables-on-wheels should harness the power of never-ending noogies.
London designer Omer Sagiv has noted this deficiency and corrected for it in a ferocious way with his concept for a glacially cool solar-powered vehicle. It's known, simply enough, as the SPV. This beast is a pitch-black, reflective rectangle plated with photovoltaic cells and sprouting razor fins at its edges. The hollow wheels look like they're made from NASA Mars-rover tech and a sexy bump in the middle marks where the driver crouches. It looks less like a car than a stealth bomber ready to run a night mission over North Korea:
And from the side, with lizard:
Here are the details from Sagiv:
The SPV is a Solar powered vehicle made out of aluminum structure with flexible thin-film modules fixed to it. The shaft in the centre of the SPV functions as an inbuilt cooling system, integrated in it's e form. The aerodynamic form allows it to collect energy through a long drive in the desert (or any sunny environment), so not only that it is powered by solar power, it can also recharge one's home power, with the extra energy it collects using It's many solar panels.
Would this car survive in the claustrophobic labyrinth of city streets? Questionable: A strong gust of wind pouring through a canyon of skyscrapers looks like it could flip it right over. Not to mention, its low profile would likely make it susceptible to being run over by a garbage truck. Still, it's neat to imagine these Tron-like beasts gliding around the cities of the future like schools of manta rays.
Just for fun, I asked Sagiv to comment a bit more on the SPV. Here's what he had to say:
Regarding the SPV: The form was created more and less on the FFF principle. The form follows the function – from the big area for collecting sun energy to the aerodynamic shape and shaft.
The access to the vehicle is from the back, as some of the structure folds up. (The parting line is not shown in these images.)
Regarding the project in general, it is a concept. In my eyes a concept should push boundaries and rely on future technologies, which doesn't mean futuristic tech but tech we know already exists but has not reached its full potential yet.
So hopefully we will see vehicles like this in cities like Vegas, where they got wide roads and a lot of sun.
(Miss the scooter of the future that actually exists today? Check out Portland's BOXX.)
Illustrations courtesy of Omer Sagiv.