Australia plays host to the future of green cars

While many fleet managers around the country are familiar with the variety of green cars heading to Australia's shores, a recent event proved there may be another option in the future. 

Australian motorists already have the choice of everything from petrol-electric hybrids to all-electric vehicles, but many of these still rely on fossil fuels to some degree or another. For example, hybrids still have petrol-powered engines to support their electric motors, while electric car owners charge their automobiles from walls using power that may not be from renewable sources. 

So, will there ever be a truly green car?

World Solar Challenge hits Australian shores

Australia hosted the latest event in the World Solar Challenge, a competition that sees teams from around the world compete in a race specifically for solar cars. In a world where demand for green cars is increasing, these creations could play a vital part in the future of the automotive industry. 

The organisation has recognised this fact, introducing the Cruiser Class, which encourages engineers to merge the high-end technology normally associated with the luxury automobiles and everyday practicality. 

These vehicles are showing notable progress too, with the World Solar Challenge organisers reporting that five of the 12 teams competing in the Cruiser Class were able to complete the full 3,022 kilometre race distance on solar power alone.

Are other manufacturers responding?

The World Solar Challenge is mainly comprised of teams from world universities, which begs the question: Are established automotive manufacturers interested in adding solar vehicles to their green car lineups?

In 2014, Ford debuted a concept car that was built on the same principles as the vehicles competing in the World Solar Challenge. However, there is one notable difference, with the Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept intended as a fully fledged passenger car.

While the car hasn't made it to production, Ford Global Director of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure Mike Tinskey believes it sets a valuable standard for the future. 

"Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy," he explained. 

"As an innovation leader, we want to further the public dialogue about the art of the possible in moving the world toward a cleaner future."

One of the competitors in the challenge, Solar Team Eindhoven, believes its vehicle is capable of acting as a four-door car for everyday use. The Stella Lux has a range of up to 1,000 kilometres, and is expected to comfortably sit four people.

Increasing demands for green cars and renewable energy could lead to solar-powered vehicles having a noticeable impact on the fleets of the future.