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French designer creates solar energy car that also powers your home

The prototype is currently being used by a couple who say that as well as providing them with transport, the vehicle provides two-thirds of the electricity they need at home

The vehicle is powered by solar energy and can even power your home when not in use Pic: PATIWIT HONGSANG / Shutterstock

A man in central-east France has created a ‘car of the future’ that runs on solar energy, can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h, and can even power your home when not in use.

Industrial designer Tobias Demantke, based in Matour in Saône-et-Loire, has been testing his prototype vehicle, which can carry four to five people, and has a solar panel roof of 8m2. 

It was created using offcuts from building materials, such as wood and plexiglass.

He said: “We did a test day with almost-empty batteries, and we managed to do almost 100km, using the solar panels only. [Based on that], we’d be able to do more than 300,000km per year!” 

When not in use, the car can also become a source of electricity for the home, thanks to a simple extension cord and an adapted battery system. 

The prototype vehicle is currently being used by residents Vincent Rouzé and Marie-Laure Schneuwly, who say that the car alone produces two-thirds of the electricity they need to power their home.

They describe the car as a “positive” use of energy and see it as a genuine alternative to polluting combustion engines.

Mr Rouzé told France 3: “This vehicle is really virtuous. It is light, and fuelled by solar power. If – combined with this – everyone used their cars a little less, we really envisage that this could help  to fight climate change.”

Inventor Mr Demantke said that “we must all change the way we get around”, and that “reselling petrol vehicles whose motors we have replaced with batteries” is not enough.

He has decided not to patent his design, and to make it public. He said: “We made it public so that it can be profitable for everyone, due to the improvements that it would make for our environment and our future life.”

He is now calling on companies and manufacturers to take his prototype and produce a model on a large scale.

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