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300 MPH Solar Powered Car Driven By Richard Branson

Trail the solar panels in a train behind the car
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
  [vote for,

The car would have an electric motor powerful enough to make it go 300 mile per hour. The trick is powering it, so you'd put about 200 yards of ultralight solar panels with wheels in a train behind the car.

It wouldn't be something you could commute with but it should be able to break any solar car speed records.

Richard Branson is clearly the man to fund this and drive the vehicle into the record books and history.

doctorremulac3, Jun 30 2013

[2:08] Hanan Einav Levi http://www.youtube....watch?v=nTnmxybH3qU
video starts with a camel covered with solar panels [pashute, Jul 01 2013]

OK found it http://www.tevahadv...mag-181/article-444
Honeymoon on solar bicycle (Hebrew) has pictures of the bikes and the tent [pashute, Jul 01 2013]

Physics of racecars - speed and horsepower http://phors.locost7.info/phors06.htm
[pashute, Jul 02 2013]


       yes, hypothetically. I can also see a lot of reasons why it might also be impossible. sadly there isn't enough meat here to even cut apart, much less eviscerate the way I would like.
WcW, Jun 30 2013

       You mean it might work, but it might not? Clearly this is more complicated than I thought.
doctorremulac3, Jun 30 2013

       How did you come up with the //300mph// and //200yds// figure ?
FlyingToaster, Jul 01 2013

       Wild guess. Sounded reasonable.
doctorremulac3, Jul 01 2013

       The current record for a solar car is 55mph.
FlyingToaster, Jul 01 2013

       Why tow the panels? More efficient (in terms of aerodynamics and wheelodynamics) just to have a single very long, streamlined vehicle, shirley?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2013

       The panels are not towed by the car, but by a conventional locomotive. Surely?
spidermother, Jul 01 2013

       Hanan Einav Levy did it.   

       Together with his then girlfriend later to be wife and now widow, they crossed Israel from north to south (from east to west its a 2 hour ride at most) with a bicycle and electric motor, towing a battery box, and solar panels. When they stopped for a break, they opened the solar panels further, to quadruple size, which served also as "roof" for a tent if needed.   

       Hanan, a young friend of mine, suddenly passed away this year. He was a rising star in the field of renewable energy, (see his youtubes, and about him) I'll give a link.   

       The second link shows the bikes. The first link shows the person. A second look at his face shows possibly fatigue - perhaps he new that he was sick and just didn't tell.
pashute, Jul 01 2013

       Dropped towards the Earth, I suspect a solar powered car could go a tremendous speed.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 01 2013

       //Why tow the panels? More efficient (in terms of aerodynamics and wheelodynamics) just to have a single very long, streamlined vehicle, shirley?//   

       The turning radius of a 200 yard long vehicle would make parallel parking tricky. But seriously (not that that was particularly funny) a snakey car would be able to make turns on curvy roads.   

       I put this up halfway thinking I'd get a dozen links of people having already done this. Is this really something nobody's thought of? I saw the bike towing a solar panel, not the same. I'm talking about a solar panel train as long as necessary to power a 300 mph vehicle.   

       The weight/drag to power ratio of the panels is what would determine if this worked. Each panel would have to give more power than required to pull it obviously. I'm picturing those new super light paper thin panels with wire spoke bike wheels on a composite frame.   

       I think it might work. Of course the practical upside of this might be super light railroad trains on standard railroad tracks with a mile or so of solar panels trailing behind it.
doctorremulac3, Jul 01 2013

       // I'm talking about a solar panel train as long as necessary to power a 300 mph vehicle.//   

       Yes, but is the train independently powered, or does the whole thing power itself? If the latter, I have my qualms with regard to feasibility, even if anyone were crazy enough to try feasing it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2013

       //Yes, but is the train independently powered, or does the whole thing power itself?//   

       You mean does each car have a motor on it? No, this would be extra weight, they'd just be passive rolling panels with a power cable leading up to the 1,000 horsepower motor.   

       By the way, have to look into losing the wheels and having the whole train be on skids or very tiny wheels and having air pressure just lift the whole thing up. Like a model in a feminine hygiene commercial running on the beach trailing a silk scarf, the whole 200 yard long train of panels would lift up and trail behind like a ribbon. Of course you wouldn't want it too flimsy or you get waves and fluttering that would tear the thing apart at high speed not to mention adding drag. So you'd bend it into an arc (looking at it from the rear) so you'd get a little inherent stiffness in the design.   

       It would just be a matter of tweaking the design until "No you can't" becomes "Oh yea? Watch this!"
doctorremulac3, Jul 01 2013

       Why not put your panels in the road bed of circular track? Put electrically live circular railroad tracks on top of the panels. And only the motor car and crash rest dummy on top of the rails.   

       That way you don't have to pull a train of collectors.   

       also Before you get to 300 mph, you'll need air foils.
popbottle, Jul 01 2013

       It's a nice halfbake, might even work with a Yale motor and a 64-speed gearbox, but you'll never get the solar- powered land speed record with it. The official land speed record must be set by performing two rolling-start mile runs in no more than one hour. I can hardly envision this buggy getting up to a top speed of 300mph once in an hour, much less twice.   

       //        electrically live circular railroad tracks //   

       That technically makes it a rail locomotive, not a car, and to set a speed record in that category it will be competing with NASA's rocket sleds.
Alterother, Jul 01 2013

       Maximum available energy is 1kW per square meter (which is 2 sqm of surface area, assuming the panel has a bottom), which isn't going to overcome drag.
FlyingToaster, Jul 01 2013

       How about a big array of mirrors on towers that focus sunlight onto the car as it moves?
pocmloc, Jul 01 2013

       Cheating. Gotta be self contained.   

       By the way, I think it's gonna need 2,000+ HP to even start thinking about creeping over 200 mph.   

       That being said, think I'll call my buddy Richard Branson and see if he wants to sponsor this. Great press plus you get your name in the record books big time. Each solar cell in that mile long train has the Virgin corporate logo on it to boot.   

       Anybody got his number?   

       Rich, babe. If you're reading this give me a jingle.
doctorremulac3, Jul 01 2013

       // I think it's gonna need 2,000+ HP to even start thinking about creeping over 200 mph.//   

       I don't think it's going to work, but it may not be utterly impossible. You'd need something fantastically streamlined and with a slippy skin. And it would absolutely not want to be articulated - huge amounts of drag generated between the "carriages".
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2013

       This would be fun to try with a little electric scooter pulling a bunch of skateboards with those super lightweight flexible solar panels on them. If you can scale that up and make it work you'd get a test of the basic concept and starting point numbers to work with.   

       Sounds like a fun summer project.
doctorremulac3, Jul 01 2013

       How heavy are two basketball courts worth of those super light thin solar panels? With 1,000 hp car pulling them could you just have them flying in the wind behind it like a really, really, really long cape?   

       Like an airplane pulling an advertising banner sort of only horizontal to catch the sun. There's some vector quantity (I think is the term) you'd have to overcome but if the panels were light enough and provided enough juice...   

doctorremulac3, Jul 02 2013

       just an interesting question: whats the record speed for wind powered sail-cars?
pashute, Jul 02 2013

       fastest sailboat is an icerigger, unofficial Guinness record of 143 mph, set over 60 years ago... hmm.
FlyingToaster, Jul 02 2013

       This is an interesting idea, but it misses something a key bit of aerodynamics. Up to a point, longer is better and minimal cross section is all important at lower speeds, but as speeds increase, the drag of such long body and the rolling resistance of either multiple wheels due to the weight of a frame that would keep the panels from breaking is going to catch up to you. Still I consider this at least half baked, so (+).
MisterQED, Jul 02 2013

       You could always go for a small solar panel feeding a massive battery. Twelve hours of standing still, two minutes of warp speed.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 02 2013

       //You could always go for a small solar panel feeding a massive battery. Twelve hours of standing still, two minutes of warp speed.// Isn't this cheating? Couldn't you do this by using solar to generate hydrogen and oxygen and then rocket to 300mph? I'd assume this would be possible. Heck an argument could be made that most forms of energy are solar based...
MisterQED, Jul 02 2013

       I think the only energy we use here that doesn't have a solar lineage is nuclear. Geothermal, nuclear power... that's about it unless I'm missing something.
doctorremulac3, Jul 02 2013

       Not in our sun, therefore the power is not solar-derived.
pocmloc, Jul 03 2013

       I would have voted for this had it been "300mph car powered by Richard Branson". Either making him pedal like a bastard or chucking him into the boiler as fuel would suit. Such is my disappointment that this is not, in fact, the idea proposed that a fishbone is sadly inevitable, alas!
DrBob, Jul 03 2013


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