Venturi Astrolab: First Commercially-Available Solar Hybrid

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

From that forward-thinking French company Venturi, here's Astrolab, 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, probably long enough for most commutes. The entire top of the vehicle is equipped with photovoltaic cells—3.6 square meters of them—and they store that energy in batteries, so you can still drive it on cloudy days, too.

If you have a long commute, you might want to leave this baby parked out in the sun so it will be all charged up and ready for you to go back home. This is not just some experiment, either, the company plans to ship these vehicles in January, 2008 for 92,000, or about $117K. But think of all the money you'll save on gas.

World's first commercially-available electric-solar hybrid [Gizmag]

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I have to agree entirely with superbad. Cars are an emotional purchase, not an economic one. If transportation were entirely economoic, we would all be taking the bus, train, or some other form of public transportation. We purchase cars because we like the freedom we believe they give us, and we purchase a particular type of car for a variety of reasons, economoics being only one of them.

What is the logic of purchasing a Ferrari? It is not economoics, folks. And which will get you more attention driving down the road - this or a Ferrari? You bet this solar-powered baby will be the talk of the town, and cost significantly less than a Ferrari, too. And, let's face it, how many people drive a Ferrari more than 50 miles in a day anyway?

See, if you look at it that way, you can justify the price. After all, when it comes to cars, you can justify just about anything.