History's Innovative Autos

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Solar electric
In 1987, General Motors harnessed solar rays to help run its Sunraycer experimental racing vehicle (above). The Sunraycer's photovoltaic cells converted the sun's energy directly into electrical energy; the electricity then powered an electric motor that drove the car. Although similar technology is still used in special aerodynamic racecars, any purely solar-powered road vehicle designed to meet general safety standards would be larger and much heavier than the Sunraycer, requiring more power than can yet be generated to achieve highway speeds.

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