Solar power can push electric vehicles into the surreal, unlimited range category. Turning that dream into a reality is Immortus, the first solar EV for curious consumers and early adopters.
The project was conceptualized by Australia’s Aurora Solar Car Team, veterans in the rapidly growing sustainable vehicles space. EVX Ventures, a Melbourne-based EV technology research firm, is currently overseeing the development and testing of the early prototypes.
Say Goodbye to Charging Stations
The Immortus has several advantages over the Tesla Model S (and other electric vehicles in the mainstream market). First, it doesn’t rely on charging docks. Instead, it harnesses UV rays using solar photovoltaic paneling- roughly 75 square feet of the stuff. The car comes with battery-charging capabilities, but the feature isn’t used often. It’s only handy when you can’t get a full charge through natural means. Ideally, you would only need to resort to the plug-and-charge option during rainy or cloudy weather.
When riding at night, the vehicle switches to a 10 kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery. While that doesn’t sound like it will get you very far (a Tesla Model S supports a large 85 kWh battery pack), the mysterious EV makes up for it with efficient technology.
Solar Racer Tires
The solar vessel weighs roughly 1,212 pounds, boasting a highly optimized power-to-weight ratio. To squeeze out additional mileage, engineers installed low-contact, solar racer tires. The tires are designed for track or road racing, resulting in very thin exterior points. Combining all of the tweaked parts, the solar EV can go for 248 miles on a single charge in dark, cloudy conditions. During the day, the unit’s range increases exponentially.
The unlimited range feature only works if you’re going at a cruising speed of 37 mph. Bumping the speed up to 53 mph will give the vehicle a range of 342 miles. Flooring the pedal will send it from zero to 60 mph in seven seconds.
Despite the glorifying name, the Immortus is not Mad Max-approved. Riding in off-road conditions will likely blow the tires out and persistent contact with the panels will greatly reduce its ability to collect sunlight. Inside the car, there’s enough room for two passengers, including the driver. Luggage room is limited.
Low Volume, High Price
“We’re not trying to be a Tesla,” said Barry Nguyen, CEO and co-founder of EVX Ventures.
“Tesla is a mass manufacturer of cars, we’re designers of boutique custom electric cars and aftermarket products. There’s regulations in the US and Australia that allow for individually constructed vehicles. Essentially what that means is that if you contract a custom car builder with the designs and components, you can build a road legal car without the crash testing and the 5-10 million dollars you’d have to raise to do that. We plan to sell those cars in low volume.”
With a hefty price tag of $370,000, the company mentioned that it doesn’t expect to sell over 100 vehicles. EVX will be promoting a remote version of the experimental car during the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. To start production, the business needs to raise $1.5 million.