Students at Stanford University unveiled their latest solar-powered car on Tuesday, two weeks before it will be shipped to Australia to take part in the world's premier solar vehicle race.
The car, called Luminos, sits low to the ground and has a long, curved body that's covered with solar panels. The curved body is key to its aerodynamics and allows it to generate less than half the drag of a cyclist while cruising. The driver sits in the middle of the vehicle, mostly within its shell, but can see the road through a small canopy that sticks up from the center of the car.
Luminos cruises almost silently at 45 miles per hour (72 kilometers per hour) when its solar panels are in full sunlight, and will keep going throughout the daytime, said Max Praglin, an electronics engineer with Stanford's Solar Car Project. The car's batteries have enough charge to take the car 150 to 200 miles when sunlight doesn't provide enough power, he said.