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Solar powered car at Florida University

by David Masters
February 24, 2009

The University of Florida has purchased a solar powered car to be used by its Department of Sustainability and Energy Management.

The Zenn car is a standard plug-in electric vehicle with three solar panels attached to the roof.

It runs entirely on solar power, and can travel around 20 miles per day – not a huge distance, but enough for getting around campus.

Because it runs entirely on the sun’s power, the day to day operation of the car is 100% carbon neutral.

David Norvel, the director of Sustainability & Energy Management at the university, said: “In six weeks, we haven’t plugged it in at all.

“We’re trying to keep from doing that. We’re trying to keep it so we can say that it was never plugged in since we plugged the solar on. That’s our goal.”

The department also trialled golf carts as sustainable vehicles, but university staff prefer the Zenn because of its radio, air conditioning, and the protection it offers from the weather.

“It has wind shield wipers,” said department engineer Eugene Roberts.

“That you really don’t have in a golf cart.”

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