"Solarve" – World's First Solar Cell-Equipped Bus

All the energy we could ever want and ever need comes from the sun. The trouble is that harnessing that energy en masse is extremely difficult given the low efficiency of current solar panels and the huge amount of area needed to harvest the sun’s power. While many people have paid out of pocket to install solar cells on their roofs, when it comes to powering transportation, we are still a long way off from driving on sun-power. Yet it seems like every day brings a new innovation.

Enter the Solarve; it’s basically a public bus with solar cells attached to the roof, it makes enough energy to power the interior lights. It is also the world’s first public transportation bus to be equipped with solar cells.

You might not think this is a big deal… and in fairness, it really isn’t. The bus itself is a diesel-electric hybrid (one of the most efficient forms of hybrids), and the solar panels just provide interior lighting. But if the sun is out, why do you need interior lights? Well, the Solarve (short for “Solar Vehicle”, so original I know) can store enough energy in its battery to light the bus for nine hours. Not so bad now, is it?

The bus was built by Sanyo for the 100th anniversary of Japanese transportation and logistics company Ryobi (which also makes some pretty badass power tools). The solar cells provide a total of 798 watts of juice for the lights, while taking the burden off of the engine to provide power, eeking out a little bit more fuel efficiency. The first of these buses goes into service September 1st in Okayama City.

Source: CrunchGear | Image: Sanyo

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.