Solar powered cars are vehicles that are completely or partly powered by solar energy. Such cars contains photovoltaic cells which are part of solar panels that convert solar energy into electric energy and helps to power the vehicle. Currently, solar power cars use this electricity in two ways- Electricity powers the vehicle to move and secondly some part of electric energy is stored in the battery for the car to use in non-sunny days and at nights.
Solar powered vehicles are of two types: electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. An electric vehicles contains electric motors and store energy in rechargeable batteries. Solar electric vehicles charge their batteries through solar energy. Hybrid vehicles contains two type of power: the internal combustion engine present generally in vehicles and electric motors to power the vehicle electrically.
By type, the market is segmented into electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. By vehicle type, the market is segmented into passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and sports vehicles.
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By geography, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa and Latin America. Asia Pacific is a major solar powered car market. In Asia Pacific, China is anticipated to be a significant solar powered vehicle market. Other than China, the major markets are Japan, South Korea and India. In India, the government has taken a major initiative to introduce 5 million electric vehicles by 2020 and they will be solar powered. China has entered the Indian solar powered vehicle market due to the huge potential of the India solar and electric vehicle market. All this is anticipated to increase the adoption of solar powered vehicles in India. One major reason for increasing demand for solar powered vehicles in China and India is that both countries receive on an average 300 days of sunlight. North America is a major solar powered car market. The U.S is a significant solar powered car market in North America. Other major markets in the region are Canada and Mexico. Europe is another major solar powered car market. Germany is the largest solar powered car market in Europe. Other major solar powered markets in Europe are the U.K, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Netherlands. In Middle East & Africa, the significant solar powered cars markets are Iran and South Africa. In Latin America, the major solar powered car markets are Brazil and Argentina.
Steep fall in price of solar panels is anticipated to increase the demand for solar powered cars. Rising government initiatives to encourage solar powered vehicles in comparison to traditional fossil fuel vehicles is anticipated to increase the demand for solar powered cars. Solar cars produce no noise pollution and solar energy is completely free which are anticipated to increase the demand for these type of cars. Rising demand for fuel efficient vehicles is anticipated to increase the demand for solar cars. A major restraint for solar powered cars, is that not many people can be accommodated in a solar powered car and the adoption rate of solar powered cars is still low. The major opportunity for solar powered cars are increasing acceptance of electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles across the world. Major automotive manufacturers’ plans to sell thousands of electric vehicles in future.
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