World's first street-legal solar-powered electric vehicle in the works - Sunswift eVe 2.0 to get upgrades.
World’s first street-legal solar-powered electric vehicle in the works – Sunswift eVe 2.0 to get upgrades.

University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia – After many successes over the years, building and racing solar-powered electric vehicles, UNSW is now striking to build the first road-legal solar-powered electric vehicle, the Sunswift eVe 2.0.

The vehicle that the Sunswift eVe 2.0 is based on could probably be best described as a stripped-down solar-powered electric vehicle (SPEV?), which was built to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. As such, it was built to be super lightweight, aerodynamic, and efficient. Since the name of the game is speed at any cost, Sunswift Eve has zero safety features, cramped seating, no radio, air conditioning, or even cupholders, eschewing anything that could possibly increase weight and decrease efficiency.

The Sunswift Eve clearly has a long way to go before being even close to street-legal, but it’s a good starting base for UNSW’s next project, Sunswift eVe 2.0, the world’s first street-legal solar-powered electric vehicle. Using the same crowdfunding platform as they did to fund the construction of their world-record-setting Sunswift Eve (1.0?) SPEV, UNSW’s Sunswift team is using Pozible to raise money to upgrade and outfit the eVe 2.0. The Pozible campaign started December 1, and has already exceeded its $30,000 AU funding goal, and has a few days remaining. Of course, this first round of funding is only for a fully-functional prototype, which is expected to be revealed by March, 2015, but further funding will be needed for production.

As for the Sunswift eVe 2.0 itself, we know that it has an onboard lithium-ion battery pack, which gives the car some 500 km (310 mi) of range. In full sun, that range jumps to 800 km (497 mi) or more. Five hours of sun is estimated to return 160 km (99 mi) of range while the vehicle is parked. You could plug in to an electric vehicle charging station, but the sun is free, right? All this and the Sunswift Eve averages 107 km/h (66 mph), with a max speed of 140 km/h (87 mph)! Of course, after the addition of modern crash safety protection, upgraded lithium-ion batteries for further range, headlights, turn signals, and marker lights, windshield wipers and washers, air conditioning, and defogger, street-legal braking and suspension systems, and comfort and ergonomics upgrades, the Sunswift eVe 2.0’s specifications are likely to change a little.

Looking forward to March, 2015, then, and I can’t wait to see the Sunswift eVe 2.0 solar-powered electric vehicle in action!

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