Nissan to Launch Solar-Powered Electric Car

Nissan plans to launch an electric concept car with solar panels built into its roof.

Nissan Note

The Nissan Nuvu will get its power from a dozen or so leaf-shaped solar panels, before energy is channeled into batteries through a ‘tree trunk’ inside the car.   Nissan says Nuvu’s cabin will even be built with natural, organic and recycled materials to appeal to environmentalists.

Of course, solar photovoltaic panels are currently not efficient enough to fully power an electric car.  They’ll simply supplement the energy supplied by plugging the batteries into the power grid.

The Nuvu’s external dimensions are similar to those of the Toyota iQ, with a 1980mm wheelbase. But the Nuvu is 200mm taller, measuring 1700mm in height, and is just 1550mm wide next to the iQ’s 1680mm.  Unusually, it will feature two permanent seats plus a third that can be folded down for occasional use.  Nissan claims an integral luggage area will make the car suitable for shopping trips.

Nissan’s general manager for product strategy and planning division, Francois Bancon, maintains that the Nuvu “is a concept car, for sure, but it is an entirely credible vehicle”.

The Nuvu will debut at the 2009 Paris Auto Show along with two other cars from Nissan – the Pixo, powered by a small 1.0 liter three-cylinder engine, and a revised version of the Note compact car.

Sources: Which, Autocar, Autoblog

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Dana Nuccitelli

Dana earned a Bachelor's degree in astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and a Master's degree in physics from UC Davis in 2005. Through college, he grew increasingly interested in environmental issues, particularly global warming and alternative fuel vehicles. After earning his Master's degree, Dana became employed at an environmental consulting firm in the Sacramento, California area. He currently works as an Environmental Scientist, primarily perfoming research and contributing to the cleanup of contaminated former military defense sites.