The World's First Self-Charging Car

Written By Luke Burgess

Posted February 1, 2023

There’s no stopping the electric vehicle market at this point, but there’s one thing that’s kind of holding me back from buying one myself…

And that’s my own forgetfulness.

I’m one of those people who always forgets to plug in their cellphone. About once every three months, I’ll go to use my phone only to find I forgot to charge it… again.

Now, I’m not blaming that on anyone else. That’s my fault. But I can definitely imagine a situation where I need to drive somewhere and I’ve forgotten to charge the car.

Some people would tell me to just plug in my EV every night. Well, that’s not recommended. answers the question “Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night?” directly:

The short answer to the question is no. In general, you should not charge your electric car every night. It isn’t necessary in most cases. The practice of charging an electric vehicle every night can shorten the life span of the car’s battery pack.

Other people would tell me just to get better about remembering things. Yeah, well, I’ve had a cellphone for more than 20 years now. If I haven’t learned to plug it in on a regular basis by now without doing it every night, I’m probably not learning to keep it charged now.

So, yeah, I can definitely imagine a situation in which I would need to drive somewhere only to find I’ve forgotten to charge the car… again.

And if you look around on the internet, you’ll find forgetting to charge an EV is not super uncommon. This 2021 Paul Wood cartoon from The Spectator sums up my fears:


Fortunately, the forgetful are in luck.

Imagine never needing to plug in an EV. The batteries would charge while it’s just sitting in the driveway and while driving down the road — no need to ever refuel or plug in.

That’s been the dream of solar-vehicle-makers for decades.

The first solar car wasn’t really much of a car. It was more of a model.

At the Powerama auto show in 1955, William Cobb of General Motors demonstrated a 15-inch-long model of a Corvette equipped with eight solar cells on the hood; he called it the “Sunmobile.”


It’s said the model actually worked and was even driven across the stage at Motorama.

Over the following decade, the models turned into drivable vehicles and led to some pretty wacky designs.

In the late 1980s, GM revived the spirit of the Sunmobile with the design of the Sunraycer, a solar-powered race car that won the first World Solar Challenge in 1987.


And there were many more attempts to build a solar-powered car, like this one from 1993 built by students at the University of Michigan…


But not only were these cars… let’s say aesthetically unmarketable — they weren’t made for the retail market.

Not only were they expensive, but you’d need a degree in electrical engineering to drive and maintain one.

For years, inventors have struggled and failed to make the dream of a solar car a reality.

Tesla’s 2023 Cybertruck is supposedly going to have a solar roof option. However, according to Elon Musk himself:


It only generates 15 miles of solar power per day, while the Cybertruck is expected to have a 500-mile range.

No one has figured out how to actually build a “self-charging” car until now.

See the solar panels on the hood of this car?

Well, they’re not just on the hood and roof. There are solar panels covering almost every square inch of the vehicle.

Now, the idea of completely covering a car in solar panels has been done before, but not like this.

This vehicle is designed to be the first fully functional, appealing, and, most importantly, affordable solar-powered car for the mass market.

With an expected retail price of just US$30,000, you’ll never need to plug it into a wall!

And when you’re not driving, this car can be used as an energy generator that can run power tools and even power a home!

My colleague Jeff Siegel just put together a complete report on this new solar-powered vehicle, which you can access here.

An electric vehicle that I don’t need to remember to plug in? Yes, please. I’ll take one.

Now, if Apple can only figure out how to make a self-charging iPhone, I’d be set.