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Solar Powered Cars Shaping the Automotive Future with Renewable Energy

The automotive industry has been going through a sea of change since the advent of newer technologies that have transformed how vehicles are designed and manufactured. Companies are now focusing extensively on the impact of cars that run on fossil fuels, and are moving towards renewable energy sources.

Ongoing activities to discover innovative technologies that can mitigate the carbon footprint of conventional vehicles have increased the demand for 'cleaner' and 'greener' cars. However, solar vehicles that are viable for individual use have not yet hit the road. This has opened up a major opportunity for auto manufacturers to gain the first mover’s advantage in the solar powered car market, which is likely to hit the ~US$ 1 billion mark by 2020.

solar powered car market infographic

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Leading automotive companies as well as new businesses are concentrating on introducing prototypes and demo cars, which are expected to reach the market by 2021. Stakeholders are currently focusing on introducing solar powered utility vehicles with compact, minimalistic, as well as aesthetically appealing designs. However, the integration of solar technology is likely to be observed more commonly in hatchbacks and sedans in the coming decade.

Lightyear – a start-up based in the Netherlands – released the design of its first fully-electric, solar car - Lightyear One, in 2017, and important sketches of new improvements for the front and rear of the car were released in January 2019. The company announced that, it is focusing on developing pioneering technologies to introduce low-cost, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance solar powered cars that have a longer lifecycle than conventional vehicles, tapping into the commercial potential for its business.

Another company to have entered the solar powered car market with a design and a production plan is German start-up - Sono Motors. After carrying out multiple crowd-investing campaigns and financing events, the company released the first images of the design of its first solar electric car – Sion’s series, in 2019, and announced that it will commence production in the fourth quarter of 2019. The company also declared that, it is mainly concentrating on embedding full-surface integrated solar cells in hard-wearing, resilient polymer, while improving the design aesthetically with optimized color matching.

Furthermore, key players are collaborating within and outside the automotive industry to keep abreast of this fairly new business landscape that is changing with technologies. In August 2019, Lightyear announced that, it collaborated with Granstudio – a car and mobility design studio based in Italy – to partner with its in-house aerodynamics and design teams, to meet the technical performance requirements of Lightyear One. In January 2019, Sono Motor announced that, it partnered with Bosch to leverage its technological expertise in enhancing the design of Sion’s central control unit, and to introduce a software-based solution for the car’s intelligent networking.

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Falling Prices of Solar Panels Could Mean a Resurgence in Adoption of Solar Energy

Another important factor that is likely to contribute to the growth of the solar powered car market is the fall in the prices of solar panels around the world. This fall in prices, most significantly in the last decade, is expected to spark a surge in the adoption of solar energy more readily. Even as the demand for solar panels is greater than the supply, there is a rising demand for renewable sources of energy being integrated into everyday lives and systems.

Along with technological advancements, this resurgence to switch to cleaner energy is set to increase the efficiency of solar powered cells, which is likely to boost the growth of the solar powered car market.

The Push for Cleaner Air and Climate Change to Boost Market Growth

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 4.2 million deaths were recorded in 2016 as a direct result of ambient air pollution. This has led to a surge of interest in the adoption of renewable sources of energy. The increasing negative impact of fossil fuels, in conjunction with the growing preference of people to cleaner sources of energy, is likely to boost the growth of the solar powered car market during the forecast period.

Governments around the world are encouraging stakeholders in the renewable energy market, though sanctions and initiatives, towards solar powered cars over conventional fossil fuel vehicles. Worsening air quality and rampant land & noise pollution is expected to lead to significant steps by governments around the world to keep a check on energy consumption and reduce emissions.

This comes in the wake of the recent summit on climate change in 2018, to emphasize on the impact of carbon emissions on the environment and regulate pollution levels around the world. This is expected to have a positive impact on the solar powered car market, as electric cars are an important factor in meeting the objectives related to global climate change.

solar powered car market segmentation

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What is Holding Back Market Growth?

Solar powered vehicles are being touted as the future, but very real challenges faced by manufacturers in the auto industry are expected to have a negative impact on the solar powered car market.

One of the biggest factors restraining the growth of the electric car market, especially the solar powered car segment, is the high dependency of solar powered vehicles on external factors. While solar power is a readily available resource, the dependency of these solar panels on irradiance can bring down the efficiency of a vehicle. Factors such as weather and temperature can also affect consumer preference for solar powered vehicles, as against conventional electric vehicles.

Another factor restraining the growth of the solar powered car market is cost. The purchasing price of an electric car is higher than a conventional car, due to the added expense of integrating a high-powered battery and other required components, impacting a consumer’s capacity to buy one. Also, because of the lower efficiency of solar panels, the question of solar energy as the primary source of energy comes into play, potentially acting against the growth of the market.

Analysts’ POV

A comprehensive view of the solar powered car market has led analysts at TMR to believe that, the market is growing at a fast rate - CAGR of ~20%. The rising demand for the use of clean energy and the push for the adoption of renewable sources of energy are driving the growth of the solar powered car market. Government initiatives and sanctions in countries around the world, post climate change summits in recent years, are also driving the upward growth of the solar powered car market.

Technological advancements and research to improve the efficiency of solar cells are expected to gather momentum in the automotive market. Stakeholders who are leveraging technology are expected to have a high margin of profitability, and will continue to grow in strength in the solar powered car market space.

Solar Powered Car Market - Key Insights

  • The global solar powered car market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of ~20% between 2019 and 2027.
  • The crystalline silicon solar cells segment currently holds a substantial share of the market, and is likely to remain prominent during the initial phase of commercialization of solar powered cars.
  • In terms of cars, sedans and UVs are lucrative segments of the solar powered car market.
  • The battery electric vehicles (BEVs) segment is likely to expand significantly, owing to stringent emission norms and standards imposed by governments across the globe.
  • Solar powered cars are expected to be introduced majorly due to rising concerns by global regulatory bodies regarding transportation carbon emissions. Moreover, increasing competition among auto manufacturers and OEMs to design and develop advanced, cost-effective, and environmentally-safe car models has led to the development of solar powered cars. 

Drivers of the Solar Powered Car Market

Solar powered cars are projected to curtail transportation emissions, and are likely to be available at highly affordable prices as compared to that of electric vehicles and other possible alternatives of zero-emission cars. This is a key factor that is likely to boost the solar powered car market.

  • Solar powered cars can be an effective solution to environmental degradation and energy deficits. These cars are significantly efficient as compared to fossil fuel-powered cars.
  • Solar powered cars help owners comply with state-formed emission guidelines and frameworks. Solar powered cars offer several advantages such as no emission, less maintenance, simple to charge, and quiet operations which, in turn, are estimated to drive the solar powered car market in the near future. 

Challenges for the Solar Powered Car Market

  • A solar powered car’s energy depends directly on the sun's rays, which charge the batteries that power the car. Any change in the climate is likely to reduce the intensity of solar rays. This is anticipated to pose a major challenge towards the demand for these cars.
  • Moreover, solar powered cars require considerable surface area on the roof to mount a solar panel. Furthermore, these cars need to offer low wind resistance, and this leaves space to carry just around two passengers. 

Solar Powered Car Market: Segment Analysis

  • The global solar powered car market has been segmented based on material, car, electric car, application, solar component, and region.
  • Based on material, the crystalline silicon solar cells segment is a highly lucrative segment of the market, and presently, this is a commonly adopted material. Crystalline silicon solar cells provide efficiencies in the range of 15% to 25% and offer higher stability. The two popular types of crystalline silicon solar cells are monocrystalline silicon solar cells and polycrystalline silicon solar cells. Crystalline silicon solar cells have been around for a while, and have proven and demonstrated their value and mettle.
  • In terms of car, the UVs and sedans segments are anticipated to expand significantly in the near future. This is primarily attributed to their larger surface area to absorb solar radiant energy and offer higher energy efficiency.
  • In terms of electric car, the battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is a highly attractive segment of the solar powered car market, and is projected to maintain its dominance during the forecast period. This is primarily due to a rise in vehicular transportation. Battery electric solar powered cars are zero-emission cars and don’t consume non-renewable resources.
  • In terms of application, the personal segment is anticipated to remain a prominent segment of the solar powered car market in the near future. This is majorly due to the higher adoption solar powered cars for personal usage. Furthermore, the demand for low cost, zero-emission cars is high for personal applications.
  • Based on solar component, the global solar powered car market has been split into ultrasonic solar arrays, batteries, power trackers, and others. The batteries segment accounts for a notable share of the market, owing to their vital role of storing energy and providing electric current to the car. 

Global Solar Powered Car Market: Regional Analysis 

  • In terms of region, Europe is projected to hold a prominent share of the global market. This is primarily due to rising emission concerns in the region, cost-effective solution, rising awareness about zero-emission cars, and improvement of the car, prompting the development of solar powered cars.
  • Moreover, key manufacturers of solar powered cars are based in Europe, which is attributed to the high share of the market held by the region in the last few years. 

Global Solar Powered Car Market: Competitive Landscape

Key players operating in the global solar powered car market include - 

  • Audi AG
  • Toyota Motor Corp
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Sono Motors GmbH
  • Mahindra & Mahindra Limited
  • General Motors
  • Volkswagen AG.
  • Lightyear
  • Cruise Car Inc.
  • Solar Electric Vehicle Company
  • Hanergy Holding Group
  • Venturi
  • Clenergy TeamArrow

Solar Powered Car Market - Scope of the Report

Transparency Market Research’s recent report on the solar powered car market, with the help of a comprehensive outlook, provides readers with an assessment of the global market landscape. This study on the solar powered car market analyzes the scenario for the period of 2019 to 2027, wherein, 2018 is the base year and 2017 and before is historical data. This report enables readers to make important decisions with regard to their business, with the help of a wealth of information enclosed in the study.

This TMR study on the solar powered car market also provides data on the developments made by important players and stakeholders in the market, along with a competitive analysis. The report also provides an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, along with the trends and restraints in the landscape. Presented in a clear sanctioned manner, this report on the solar powered car market gives readers an individual understanding of the market.

This study also discusses the underlying trends and the impact of various factors that are driving the solar powered car market, along with their influence on the evolution of the market.

This study also offers Porter’s Five Point Analysis, value chain analysis, regulatory scenario, and a SWOT analysis of the solar powered car market, in order to elaborate the crucial growth tactics and opportunities for market players contributing to the market.

Key Questions Answered in This Report on the Solar Powered Car Market

  • How much revenue will the solar powered car market generate by the end of the forecast period?
  • What type of car is likely to have the maximum market share by 2027?
  • What regions currently contribute the maximum share to the overall solar powered car market?
  • What are the indicators expected to drive the solar powered car market?
  • What region is likely to be a lucrative market during the forecast period?
  • What are the essential strategies incorporated by key stakeholders in the solar powered car market to expand their geographical presence?
  • What are the major advancements witnessed in the solar powered car market?

This report answers these questions and more about the solar powered car market, aiding major stakeholders and key players in making the right decisions and strategizing for the advancement of their business.

Solar Powered Car Market: Research Methodology

This TMR report on the solar powered car market is based on a complete and comprehensive evaluation of the market, backed by secondary and primary sources. The competitive scenario of the solar powered car market is supported by an assessment of the different factors that influence the market on a minute and granular level. By thoroughly analyzing the historical data and current trends, researchers of the solar powered car market arrive at predictions and estimations, and calculate the forecast for the market.

This report uses an analytical triangulation method to estimate the numbers and figures of the solar powered car market, with both a bottom-up and top-down approach.

This detailed assessment of the solar powered car market, along with an overview of the landscape, is provided based on a careful examination of the avenues related to this industry. Analysts’ conclusions on how the solar powered car market is set to grow are based on carefully vetted primary and secondary sources.

Solar Powered Car Market: Segmentation

This report on the solar powered car market provides information on the basis of material, car, electric car, application, solar components and region.


Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

Thin-Film Solar Cells





Electric Car







Solar Component

Solar Arrays


Power Trackers



North America


Asia Pacific

Middle East & Africa

Latin America

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