Each September, Montreal holds a car-free day, called En Ville Sans Ma Voiture!, or In Town Without My Car! centered on Ste-Catherine street. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the street during this day, and a bunch of vendors present green-transport alternatives to cars and various activities. One of the most important events is the electric car demos.
This year, students from the University of Montreal’s School of Engineering presented their solar car, named Esteban IV.
The Esteban Project started in 1998 when engineering students at the University of Montreal decided to design and build a solar car prototype to participate in the 2001 American Solar Challenge. Unfortunately the original Esteban had electrical problems and couldn’t compete in the 2001 challenge.
The vehicle is now in it’s fourth version. It’s external shell made of high-tech Kevlar and carbon fiber, with 86 sqft of monocrystalline solar cells covering the top and connected to a 5000-watt lithium-ion battery. It’s inner structure is made from tubular aluminum for a high strength to weight ratio, so the whole vehicle weighs in a only 661 lbs.
Esteban IV can hit a top speed of 68 mph per hour, but apparently the ideal cruise speed should be around 40 mph. At that speed, on a sunny day, the car is getting all the power it needs from the solar cells – and so can travel indefinitely.