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First Solar Cars to be Road Tested in Japan

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On: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 12:38PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

First Solar Cars to be Road Tested in Japan

It seems that the day and age of the next generation of truly hybrid vehicles is finally upon us. For eons—or so it feels like it—there has been much banter over electric cars and hybrid cars (which are still powered by gas, but use advanced fuel cells to charge up as the car drives, allowing them to effectively use less gas by alternating between the built-up electrical charge from driving, and then switching back to the gas source once that power has been all used up). Namely, the big oil companies really would not be all that happy to see their business drop, and in massive numbers, if say, the world were to suddenly stop using gas-powered cars.

Wow, what a surprise.

Some of the biggest companies in the world don’t want cars that are eco-friendly because they would stand to lose money? The sad part is that this corporate mish-mash, their insane amount of resources and funding, and the rampant amount of lobbying that has taken place is paramount—when you really think about it—to the woes the tobacco industry has undergone in their attempts to stay afloat.

In all reality, however, big oil is eventually going to be old news. And if you think that people are not sick of their tricks, then take a look at the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is just one of the many innovations that ‘big oil’ has enlightened society, the world, and the precious environmental ecosystems with. That, and the fact that, for some reason, electric cars could have come along a lot sooner, but for some reason they did not.

Does anybody recall the EV1? It was an electric car—one of the first—that was designed and offered by General Motors Corporation from 1996 to 1999, and you could only lease it. None of these cars were for sale and eventually production was ceased. One has a mind to think that big oil had interests in the demise of the EV1, but there is no solid proof on that.

Japan, perhaps one of the few countries really making some serious strides as far as being conscious of the ever-growing threat of global warming and rising water levels (and they should be: they are situated on an island, so no shocker there), is getting ready to unveil one of the world’s very first solar cars this year. The model, called the Mazda2 in other countries, but coyly tagged as the Mazda Demio in Japan, will be available to consumers toward the end of 2010 (in Japan).

According to a news article published on Tonic.com, these cars should be available for lease—much like how drivers are able to rent Zip Cars hourly or daily, simply by using a membership card—in the near future. The cars will be powered using a specially designed engine that charges off charging stations that use solar power, as well as their own onboard solar panel charging system.

According to a report by Cnet, “The unique combination of on-site battery storage with rapid charging allows the use of direct current throughout the system, sharply reducing the amount of time needed to charge a vehicle."

So no long waits to charge your car. No costly gas bills. And the sun eradicates big oil!

Too bad I don’t live in Japan.


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