The Antro Solo from Hungary is a gas-electric hybrid car with a unique power arrangement that also utilizes solar energy.
While the Antro Solo is obviously in the prototype phase, many of its technologies are fascinating. To keep weight low, it’s built entirely out of carbon fiber and composites. The engine is a gas-electric hybrid with a twist. A large array of roof-mounted photo-cells can charge the battery to extend the EV range. The Solo comes with pedals that each passenger can crank in order to charge the battery. This car combines renewable energy with fitness training.The Antro Solo is also one of the strangest looking cars on the green horizon.With its light weight and design the Antro Solo is able to get about 150 mpg and has a top speed of 87 mph. These are excellent stats for a green car.
The triple seat feature of this car is unique. Unlike other small hybrids, this car has all three seats lined up in row rather than the two in front, one in the back scenario. This car won’t be difficult to market in countries that drive on the right or left because the driver in this car sits in the middle. No need to rearrange the interior controls depending on whether the market is England or the U.S.
The interior cockpit has pedals for all of the passengers in the car. Hence the pedal power part of the hybrid. The driving controls along with being in the middle, look more appropriate for steering a plane rather than a car. This configuration does place controls within easy reach of thumbs and fingers without the need to remove a hand from the steering column.
No to the most intriguing part of this hybrid, the different power systems. Solar panels line the top of the car storing energy in the batteries. The car can go approximately 9-12 miles on solar energy alone. Not a very impressive distance, but with the pedals and small combustion engine the car will switch to the power source needed to get the car where you are going.
This is definitely one of the more unique cars slated to be out in two to five years. But not necessarily one of the cheapest. The car is expected to cost around $20.000.
The multiple systems are blended in way not seen in other hybrids. Adding pedal power to a solar-electric-gas combo is a way of providing emergency back up power like crank flashlights.
Just like crank flashlights, you can use the pedals to provide power to the engine when the batteries are low due to bad weather. If the driver is alone or the passengers aren’t up to pedaling, the combustion engine kicks in to continue powering the car.
The pedal portion of the power system allows passengers to workout while riding. With the seat and pedal configuration, this would be similar to riding a recumbent bicycle. Should you miss a day at the gym, you can carpool in with someone else driving and exercise on the way.
The Antro Solo takes the term “hybrid” in whole new direction providing yet another choice to the line up expected in 2012.