Debut of Venturi’s Astrolab; the solar electric hybrid car

Go green’ seems the mantra these days. We think it is important to conserve energy if we want future generations to get whatever is left of it. The forward-thinking French company Venturi’s Astrolab is the first commercially available solar-electric hybrid car in the world. The company says it can go 74mph and has a range of 68 miles, far enough to get you to work. The entire top of the vehicle is equipped with photovoltaic cells—3.6 square meters of them—and they store that energy in batteries, making it possible for you to dive on cloudy days. The car’s performance is remarkably close to that of a petrol-engined vehicle as it has a top speed of 120 kmh and a minimum range of 110 km. To attain this level of performance while using very little energy, the Astrolab has been designed like a Formula 1 car with an ultra-light carbon monocoque chassis serving as an oversized protection cell in the event of a collision. Don’t sweat if you have a long commute; just leave this baby parked out in the sun so it will be all charged up and ready for you to go back home.

Thankfully it is not just an experiment, and the company plans to ship these vehicles in January 2008 for €92,000, or about $117K. Don’t worry you will make up the money spent by saving on the gas.

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