The UltraCommuter : a viable and desirable solar-powered commuter vehicle

Simpson, Andrew G., Walker, Geoffrey R., Greaves, Matthew C., Finn, David A., & Guymer, Ben D. (2002) The UltraCommuter : a viable and desirable solar-powered commuter vehicle. In Zahedi, A. (Ed.) Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference (AUPEC) 2002 Conference Proceedings, Australasian Committee for Power Engineering, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.

Abstract

The University of Queensland UltraCommuter project is the demonstration of an ultra-light weight, low drag, energy efficient and low polluting, electric commuter vehicle equipped with a 2.5m2 on-board solar array. A key goal of the project is to make the vehicle predominantly self-sufficient from solar power for normal driving purposes , so that it does not require charging or refuelling from off-board sources. This paper examines the technical feasibility of the solar-powered commuter vehicle concept, as it applies the UltraCommuter project.

A parametric description of a solar-powered commuter vehicle is presented. Real solar insolation data is then used to predict the solar driving range for the UltraCommuter and this is compared to typical urban usage patterns for commuter vehicles in Queensland. A comparative analysis of annual greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicle is also presented.

The results show that the UltraCommuter’s on-board solar array can provide substantial supplementation of the energy required for normal driving, powering 90% of annual travel needs for an average QLD passenger vehicle. The vehicle also has excellent potential to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions from the private transport sector, achieving a 98% reduction in CO2 emissions when compared to the average QLD passenger vehicle. Lastly, the vehicle battery pack provides for tolerance to consecutive days of poor weather without resorting to grid charging, giving uninterrupted functionality to the user. These results hold great promise for the technical feasibility of the solar-powered commuter vehicle concept.

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ID Code: 63576
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 0732622069
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING (090200) > Hybrid Vehicles and Powertrains (090205)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING (090600) > Industrial Electronics (090603)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING (090600) > Renewable Power and Energy Systems Engineering (excl. Solar Cells) (090608)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 04 Mar 2014 23:09
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2014 16:53

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