An advanced solar car that can cruise in a range from 50 to 60 miles per hour and weighs less than 500 pounds is being developed by students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The green vehicle, called Eleanor, has 20 square feet of silicon solar panels which release 1,200 watts. But its special feature, the students say, is the car's battery. The battery pack is made of more than 600 cells from laptop batteries. The cells are lithium-ion cells equivalent of about 6 to 7 times that of a normal car battery, but twice to three times as heavy.
Eleanor's weight and aerodynamic is apparently what makes it travel as fast as many traditional cars in the highway. Its developers call it one of the most advanced solar cars yet designed.
The vehicle will participate in the 10th World Solar Challenge in Australia in October on a 1,900 mile race which tests the most efficient cars powered with solar energy.