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Wired Nextfest | Monoco Knows Zero

Posted By Boise Thomas On September 21, 2007 @ 3:17 pm In Alternative Vehicles | No Comments

There aren’t too many things that will get me to drive to the LA Convention Center… The L.A. Auto Show (I’m there every year), some killer music or, last but not least, something “G”. WIRED Nextfest 2007 had some cars of the future, a few things G and as for the music? Lets just say I went for the Solar Car and the future of Green Pavillion.

The first thing to catch my eye was the Astrolab electric concept car, the first high-performance solar vehicle to be commercialized in the world. For the record, Monoco got there first – and for a small country, that’s a big feat. Venturi Automobiles created this ping-pong-table-meets-sportscar covering 3.6 sqm of photovoltaic cells. The Astrolab goes 70 mph for up to 70 miles per trip.

My first question was, “Does this thing just go forever as long as you have sun?” The answer was no. It’s an electric car. The solar panels only assist in the recharge — left alone with no driving, the panels charge the battery about 10 miles per day. Still pretty cool, if you ask me. BTW, how do you get in? It comes with a metal plate you put over the sides to sit on while you swing your legs into the cockpit.

How did I get in, you ask? Two words: Starsky and Hutch. Or Dukes of Hazzard, if you choose. Either way, it still dates me.

In the end, the car impresses not from design or speed but from two factors: Zero consumption. Zero emission. For that, I will leave West L.A. and drive downtown. Anytime. For more information, check this out.


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