Ford will come out with a car with solar panels integrated in the roof. It is a nice gesture and it will increase the visibility of solar panels, but also a risk because it seems to claim such panels are somehow enough to make it run.
Of course cars can run on panels, if it is sunny enough and the car is specialized to do so. This is the idea of the (sHell sponsore) Solar Challenge. There are even solar challenge car designs for the public road.
Efficiency is not an issue with renewables, as it is not an issue with fossil fuels. Car engines convert about 15% of the energy in gasoline into forward motion, and that gasoline itself cost gasoline to get it into the car. This makes the efficiency of a car a screaming example of insanity compared to the low loss convesion of solar energy in electrical motors or stored in batteries.
anyone can make a car
The output of a solar panel, usually light that would not be used in any other way, is stored with about 15% loss in a battery. It is used with the same loss in an electric motor. Storing solar electricity in hydrogen (as was the industy’s suggestion) always implies a 50% loss when converting it back to electricity again, as well as losses from compression and cooling, not to speak of the manufacturing of the storage tank. But hey, it’s economical (meaning it generates a lot of cashflow)!
Truly solar cars are not actually necessary, we can have NH3 powered cars, which is like having diesel cars without the soot or CO2. Several wind projects have aimed to produce NH3 as a usefull liquid fuel, but usually these projects get killed or dragged out to prevent farmers from smelling freedom, check out Freedomfertilizer ! Making NH3 out of wind means some loss of energy, but the wind is free, and it is a great way to utilize so called ‘stranded wind’, wind turbines the energy company charged to much to connect them to the grid..
Of course the best is to improve public transport and build homes close to the workplace. But in our economy that is discouraged in favour of making sure people work in offices and use a car to get there. That sells gasoline, office furniture, office real estate and keeps people from realizing their office job could be done as efficient at home or not at all 😉