Just because you're solar-powered doesn't mean you can't bring the style. That's the thinking behind the Immortus, a limited-edition bespoke solar electric sports car currently being developed in Australia.
The Immortus is the brainchild of electric vehicle startup EVX, which is working on the vehicle with researchers from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. While at heart it's an electric vehicle that runs on juice from your wall socket, extensive solar panelling on the Immortus's roof is intended to give the car considerable staying power on the road. Perhaps never-ending staying power, in fact.
"The ability to run on the power of the Sun and store the energy for later use make it a car of practically infinite endurance," boasts EVX's website. "As long as the sun shines the Immortus lives…"
It could be more than just marketing hype too. While EVX itself is an early stage venture, the company's ties with Swinburne build upon the institution's considerable expertise in both solar energy research and electric vehicle technology.
"Without government funding so far, we have made significant progress in our R&D and getting closer to turn our ambitious vision into a reality," said Barry Nguyen, EVX co-founder and CEO, in a press release. "With the strong leadership of [engineering lead] Clint Steele, we have succeeded in keeping our approach lean through working with final year engineering students and new graduate engineers."
According to the Immortus's specification sheet, it can reach 100 km/h in less than 7 seconds, and has a combined battery and solar range of over 550 km at an average of 85 km/h. However, depending on solar conditions, EVX says the vehicle can run indefinitely on solar power alone, with a theoretically unlimited range at speeds over 60 km/h. This delivers what the company calls "the complete independence that comes from never [needing] to refuel".
It's worth bearing in mind that the Immortus doesn't actually exist yet. It's still a concept for now, so these specifications are best considered theoretical at this point. But its makers are doing everything they can to get the technology up and running, and will be exhibiting a scaled-down model of their custom solar sports car at SEMA 2015, an auto show dedicated to specialty equipment, being held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in November.
"We're not trying to be a Tesla because that would require a lot of money just to get the car onto the road," Nguyen told Ben Schiller at Fast Company. "Because the car will be very expensive to make, we make the car into a technology platform, using technologies that make up a solar car."
If you like the look of the Immortus, you're probably not the only one. Its sleek, ground-hugging design basically spells desire. But with just 100 units expected to be made and an anticipated selling price of US$370,000, you might want to start saving those pennies now.
Love science? Find out more about the innovative research happening at Swinburne University of Technology.