In 2014, Solar Transport Systems built the UK's first road-legal solar electric vehicle, SPV1. The result of a two-year proof of concept project, SPV1 demonstrated that solar power can successfully be used for commuter transport in sunny climates. We had the insight that sunshine is limited in the northern hemisphere but abundant in developing countries and decided to focus on making solar transport a practical reality for consumers in the developing world.
Why solar power?
Developing countries are on course to be left behind by the transition to electric vehicles. EVs developed for the northern hemisphere are unaffordable in developing countries, and a lack of charging infrastructure and frequent power cuts makes them impractical as well. Many countries in the developing world enjoy plentiful sunshine and this makes direct solar charging a practical solution. And, with virtually no running costs, driving a solar electric car is affordable too!
Over the past nine years, STS has developed a car that is inexpensive, lightweight, rugged and solar powered. The result is the INTI, an affordable two‑seater car weighing 400kg, less than a third of the average EV. Powered by the sun, its running costs are near zero and it has the suspension of an off‑road vehicle making it suitable for use over challenging terrain. Although designed to be primarily solar powered, the INTI can also be charged via a simple domestic socket.
The INTI is the first in a range of solar electric cars we plan to produce to meet the needs of urban and suburban users in the developing world. For passenger journeys up to 50 miles (80km) or to carry light cargo, we aim to make solar powered motoring the natural choice of consumers in the developing world.