While solar-powered cars might have promise, solar panel technology isn’t quite at the stage where it can power the average vehicle without needing excessive charging times.
SQUAD Solar City Car isn’t quite your average vehicle. The incredibly compact two-seater was built to make the most of solar’s limitations by powering urban mobility and tackling the first and last-mile emissions problem while it’s at it.
“Urban mobility should be safe, accessible, and hassle-free. It should contribute to a liveable, free and open city life,” Squad Mobility writes in a press release.
The company says its smart vehicle, which will be available in 2022, makes “life simple for everyone.” Founded in 2019, Squad Mobility set out to create a zero-emission solution that can be easily integrated into city spaces.
The result is the company’s SQUAD Solar City Car, a two-seater vehicle that charges automatically in sunlight and has the option of swappable batteries if its charge is low. A small, but robust, design makes it easy to navigate cities and park the car conveniently. Vehicle data will be available for fleet operators, enabling them to keep an eye on their shared fleet from afar.
Tackling urban mobility emissions with solar city cars
The idea is one that can help the world tackle its last-mile emissions problem. As a World Economic Forum report warned earlier this year, last-mile emissions are set to climb 30 percent by 2030 if cities don’t do something about it.
“Cities are looking for zero-emission mobility solutions with a small space footprint. We have achieved both,” said Robert Hoevers, Squad Mobility CEO.
“A per capita energy consumption lower than public transport and a space footprint comparable to a bicycle. And all this, while offering the flexibility of personal transport and the comfort of a car.”
The vehicles have a 62-mile (100 km) range thanks to their swappable batteries, and they are constantly charging via their solar panels, which provide an extra 12 miles (20 km) per day. Squad Mobility points out that, as the average person drives 12 km per day in the light electric vehicle (LEV) segment, the solar charge should have people covered most days.
As three of the SQUAD vehicles fit comfortably into one parking space, they should be easy to park throughout city spaces. Their aluminum tubular frame and roll cages, meanwhile, provide a safe trip
Sensors inside the vehicle also gauge tire pressure and other metrics, including battery damage indicators, to ensure rider safety. A remote control feature for operators even allows them to remotely move their vehicles if they see riders have left them parked illegally or dangerously.
The SQUAD solar car has the potential to change urban mobility, making it safer and more environmentally friendly, at the same time as making city transport easier and more accessible to the masses.