Is it a snail? Is it a two-wheeled version of the Sidney Opera house? Nope... It's a solar-powered motorbike designed by SunRed, a Spanish automotive development company, that got a prize for Best Innovative Technology during the Barcelona Int'l Auto Show.
The project, which will result in a life-size prototype in the near future, consisted in creating a model able to capture sunlight, store electrical power and power the motorbike in the most environmentally respectful way. Instead of deploying panels that might occupy too much space, SunRed decided to adopt a clamshell structure that would optimize the panels surface while not making the vehicle bulky. When the bike is stopped, the solar panels surface tops up to 3.1 m2 (25 sq. ft) and it can store energy for up to 20km (13 miles) at 50km/h (30 mph). The motor, as in most modern electric bikes, is brushless and it's placed right in the axle of the wheel, saving transmission components.
Although this is just a concept, SunRed pretends to serve it as a benchmark for future developments of solar applications in all kinds of vehicles. We'll surely keep an eye on them.
[Source: Sun Red]