Next Big Thing: solar-powered cars

Get double the eco-smugness with Nissan's new solar powered lithium-ion powered car

Nice try. I still want a car that can do more than 30mph

Electric vehicles (EVs) are city cars – they're not made for bombing it down the motorway. But now car giants like Nissan are trying to expand the green halo above EVs like Nissan's "CO2-free" LEAF. Its new recharging station at Nissan HQ, outside Tokyo, uses solar panels to grab renewable energy which is then stored for future use.

Haven't I heard this somewhere before?

Well, Mitsubishi is at it too, announcing its first solar charging station for the electric iMiEV car in California yesterday. And the Toyota Prius can be outfitted with photovoltaic cells on its roof so you don't run out the battery with the air-con. What's impressive about Nissan's experiment is that the charging stations could be capable of charging 1,800 LEAF EVs a year.

I don't live in Tokyo or California, though.

There are already solar-powered charging stations for EVs in the UK and British Gas showed off a couple of models last month. An end to petrol prices stealing all your cash? Just call us sun-worshippers.

Also

Electric cars special – MINI E

Toyota Prius to get solar power

Solio Solar Charger Review

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