As a matter of fact I designed a solar charging station for an electric commuting car back in about 1988. The car used conventional lead batteries but was just fine for commuting about 10 miles to work and back. And, by the way, the installation was in Massachusetts.
It is true that on some occasions there was not enough sunlight so the owner had to charge off the mains. One needn't achieve perfection to do considerable good.
I also recognize that the gas engine is poorly suited to the variable speed and load of an automobile while the steam power plant runs much more consistently and efficiently, even considering distribution losses and "round trip" charging efficiency of a battery.
From a business standpoint, this might make sense. As the DeLorean people said, they have all those spare parts sitting around so why not try to get some more inventory out the door.
Now from what I understand, the DeLorean was not a terribly good car (even back in the day). And it certainly is way, way behind the power curve today in features, safety, etc. So I see a number of problems here:
#1: Safety. Won't this car have to pass some or all of the new safety regulations before they can sell it either here in the US or in Europe? Boy, that could be a deal stopper right there.
#2: Tacking in an electric power system is NOT an easy job. And just not the physical factors (e.g. such as mounting the motor, battery) but also the control algorythmn's etc. None of that development is going to be quick or cheap.
#3: Given the other competitiors in this new field (of exotic electric cars), I think DeLorean's estimate of volume is wildly off. My guess: 40 to 50 cars in a 3 year period. If they can make some money (and burn some inventory) at that volume then why not.
Bottom line (for me): sex factor high, practicality low.
I certainly agree that in most cases, a plug-in electric car is still powered by fossil fuels, with all the attendant ills that go along with it. However, it must be pointed out that a generating station can be tuned to run and produce power at a rate close to optimal, while an automobile has to spin up, spin down, run at idle, run hot, run cold, and run everywhere in between.
Additionally, I doubt solar chargers will ever catch on for automobiles. At least, not PV solar panels. They're too dependent on good weather. No one wants to be stranded at work because thick clouds covered the sky all day. Some of us living on the North Coast may not get nearly enough daylight in the winter to charge their batteries, and batteries lose a certain amount of usability in the cold temperatures too. (My Prius gets about 10 MPG less in the winter than it does in the summer.)
However, there are some very interesting things going on in the field of municipal solar power generation. Using optics to concentrate sunlight and turn a fluid to steam to power a turbine, or to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, then recombine them in a fuel cell, these plants can provide wall power that makes a plug-in car fairly green. I'd love to see the range of these cars improve, and the cost come down before I plunk down the cash to buy one, though.
What's really exciting are the plans to build a string of these plants in Africa along the Mediterranean coast. They'll provide power for much of Europe, desalinated water for Africa, and stop, or possibly even reverse desertification in Africa. That's a technology to get behind!
I see a cark park lot full of DeLorean's often where they sit in Sayville Long Island, NY. Firstly, I never liked the design, too boxy for me and yes the stainless steel is corrosion proof, but as was already mentioned, when the car is involved in an accident and reairing same to its intrinsic state is difficult to improbable. I say ditch the idea, redesign the car with smoother lines, use carbon fibre and forget the stainless steel. As Einstein said, people that do the same thing over and over and expect different results.......are insane!
It is interesting that DeLorean has introduced what to most Americans is actually a coal-fired steam car. (The boiler and engine live at the coal-fired power plant.) Iwould be lucky if 0.01% of the public could afford it and of those, perhaps 1% would buy it instead of their macho gas-hogs.
What we really need is a cheap light electric, even with limited range and speed, AND solar charging stations. 2-car families or city dwellers could use the electric to commute and for local trips, neither of which requires grand prix performance. The electric might be designed with the same market philosophy as the Ford T, or the VW beetle, economical, simple, and reliable. An electric need not, and should not, try to mimic a gas car. It's a different species.
One advantage of solar charging is that the panels produce DC which can charge the battery even with no power converters. (There is a tradeoff between the slight gain in efficiency with peak power tracking and the simplicity of direct connection.)
I was listening to an episode of "Top Gear" last night on the BBCA. They had a Delorean on there. It is assembled from several car manufacturers. The front axel from one, the rear from another; and the interior is ghastly (Halloween left over). Plastic pieces everywhere and poorly fitted. The gentleman discussing this owned one, because he was from Ireland, where it is manufactured.
We looked at a number of sources to determine this year's greenest cars, from KBB to automotive trade magazines to environmental organizations. These 14 cars emerged as being great at either stretching fuel or reducing carbon footprint.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is