It heats the planet, tans our skin, and makes us squint when there’s too much of it.  Yup, I’m talking about the sun, and when it comes to turning it to fuel, there is no easily reachable conclusion.  Can solar energy be used to power cars?  Sure thing.  Is it extremely practical?  Not so much, but that doesn’t mean we can rule out solar-powered vehicles yet.  Take a look at these videos to get a feel for what I’m talking about.

This gives a brief overview of a solar car from ETS in Montreal.  If you thought your car was expensive, think again; this car has a price tag of $700k.

Here’s a car from the University of New South Wales, Australia that competed in the Global Green Challenge down under.

And if you thought you were living sustainably, you might want to think again after seeing this guy!

So what have these videos shown?  Solar powered cars are definitely a possibility.  However, their expensive price tags and limited capabilities mean that such technology maybe isn’t very practical for the roadways.

Of course, there are ways of incorporating the use of solar energy into cars.  There’s been talk of Toyota introducing a Prius with solar panels to give the hybrid a 15km energy boost.  Some Prius models already have a solar panel on the sunroof, which helps out the car’s ventilation system.  And students around the world work hard to compete in various solar car competitions, hopeful to develop new technologies that will make commercial solar cars more than a pipe dream.

And solar power itself seems to have great potential.  After all, it’s renewable energy that’s already shining down on everything anyways.  While it might not make sense at this point to cruise around in a solar-powered car, it certainly might not be a bad idea to put up some solar panels on your house or garage.