At the 2006 Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica, we caught sight of Steve Titus's Solar Bug. As you can see in the pictures in that post, the car was a bit boxy, kind of like a squished school bus, and had solar panels (which only provided a tiny bit of energy) on the side. The enclosed vehicle was built on an ATV chassis and classified as an NEV. Last year, the stats were a 30-mile range from a 4-6 hour charge time, all for $9,500 or so.

Titus's updated version (pictured at right) gets rid of the boxiness in favor of a more aggressive and swooped Tonka look. This is still totally an NEV, but I think the design is much improved. The numbers for the Solar Bug have gotten much better, too. With a top speed of 35 mph (in Montana, where the NEV laws are different, something Titus helped change), the new Solar Bug has a range of 60 miles and the roof-mounted solar panels can provide you with 10-20 miles of emission-free, fossil-fuel-free driving. When you plug into the grid, a full charge still takes 4-6 hours, something Titus estimates will cost you between 30 and 60 cents. The Solar Bug uses lead acid (Absorbed Glass Matt) batteries. There's no mention of cost, but I've emailed Titus if there's been any change there as well. You can check out all the specifics over at the Solar Bug website.

According to our tipster, Steve was on local (that is, Bozeman, Montana) television last night saying that he will soon begin delivering the first vehicles to the 53 people on his pre-order list. Nice work.

UPDATE: Titus explains the price increase here.

[Source: Freedrive-ev, h/t to Gary]