Solar powered cars on the horizon?

Flickr photo courtesy of Rodrigo Walker Armijo.

The Christian Science Monitor writes about developments in technology that are bringing us closer to the possibility of solar powered cars!

The ranks of potential buyers for such cars are growing by leaps and bounds, say many car-industry analysts. But don’t look for them on normal streets just yet, they add quickly. Limitations of batteries and solar panels — though lessening — are still issues, among others.

Yet “fringe markets” — such as commuters within small towns, seniors in retirement villages, and users of industry fleets — are in a position to drive the first sales boomlet for such cars, analysts say.

Until then, Titus and other inventor-tinkerer types are offering a peek into the future of transportation in America – well before the major car companies.

“Garage tinkerers like Titus are the tip of an iceberg of innovation demonstrating the direction of the national, global trend,” says Steven Letendre, professor of business, economics, and environment at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt., who lectures widely on the future of electric and hybrid cars and solar energy.

In fact, their ideas are increasingly showing up in the mass-market innovations of larger car companies, Letendre and others say. America’s Ford Motor Co., Japan’s Mazda, and Europe’s Venturi Motors have all debuted prototypes at exhibitions with solar panels that boost electricity for internal lighting.

I did a quick search and found that the Solar Bug has a web site with more information about it. Check it out here. I was disappointed to find out that they don’t have any prices listed on the site. It says “Available 2008” on the front page though. This would be a perfect short commute car for taking to work.