I'm not sure, but I think it is saying that the winning car had an average speed of 55mph. That would mean that there were times at the crack of dawn where it was going 5mph and there were times at noon where it must have been going over 100.
Came across this article about a group of various college students called Sunswift in Australia who are attempting to break the world record for fastest long-range solar car ever! This little video sums it up pretty well but all the details are in this article.
The American Solar Challenge which is college teams racing from Texas to Minnesota is happening right now. Tomorrow they'll arrive near us in Wisconsin. The car from tiny Principia College, Ra 9, is doing quite well against the big name engineering schools. Lots of info here: http://americansolarchallenge.org/ Jerry
Saw a couple of them on the road south of KC last week. They were moving pretty good (50ish MPH).
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
They are amazingly fast and blindingly expensive. I don't think there are any mass-produced solar powered vehicles, except for the electric vehicles that charge their batteries with PV panels-- which I think is the most sensible way to do it at this point. A solar car requires a very large array and a very light vehicle with a very small payload.
I have been working with a company in San Francisco creating solar backpacks for a few months called BirkSun: http://www.birksun.com.
We were fortunate to get to spend some time with one of the teams in the ASC.
Love the passion for the project.
What I don't think people realize is that doing something like this is legitimately feasible; there's no question it's challenging, but organizations, ourselves included, are starting to do more with the attraction of sunlight into these panels than ever before.
To get these cars on the road I think the trick will be ensuring they can operate in limited sunlight, and have partial access to a battery so there's no blind energy conversion.