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“Drifter” glides along on solar power, no gas needed

Some University of Arizona students have developed a car that can go all the way to Canada without using a drop of gas.

See photos below

The “Drifter” was developed for the 2008 North American Solar Challenge, a race from Texas to Calgary, Canada. It finished tenth of 24 cars.

The “Drifter” is a rather flat, one-seat vehicle with more than 2,000 small solar panels from one end to the other. UofA student Armando Nargi said driving it is a very different feeling.

“You’re low to the ground, you weigh about 700 pounds and everything scares you,” Nargi said, noting other cars on the road weigh about three times as much.
“As cars drive by, you get that wind push or that vacuum effect, and the slightest movements can really throw you for a spin.”

Nargi’s favorite part of the car has nothing to do with the engine.

“Honestly, we have one of the most comfortable seats ever. I honestly think I could take a nap in there if they would let me. It’s very comfortable, almost like you’re sitting in a cockpit, so you kind of get that fantasy feeling that it’s something other than just a car.”

Top speeds are 70 miles an hour for the car that requires no gas at all.

The solar panels charge the batteries. But, on a cloudy day, the batteries must be taken out and plugged in to charge.

Nargi said the car gets a lot of attention.

“A lot of people actually stop and stare. Some people pull over to the side of the road just so they can stop and take pictures. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s nerdy, but it is very different and unique.”

There are no plans yet to develop the car for the public, but if there were, builders estimate it would come with a $100,000 price tag.