Sunzeecar LLC was incorporated in 2004 to promote and market solar powered vehicles which will reduce our impact on the environment. The founder of the company is Andy Schoenberg PhD who has been developing such vehicles for the last 14 years. The prototype Ecotrikes of various configurations have been tested and evaluated for function and reliability on the bumpy and hilly roads of Salt Lake City, Utah for the last 8 years.
Why we need Ecotrikes
We currently have a car centered transportation system that during the last 10 years in the US has killed approximately 350,000 people and injured 20,000,000 . A recent study by the AAA estimates that car crashes in the US cost 300 billion dollars per year. Each additional car requires paving or cementing 6 parking spaces consuming an immense amount of land that could be used for food production, parks and recreation. High rise parking structures in most cities cost between $30,000 and $50,000 per parking stall. The 2000 to 5000 lb vehicles we choose to drive at up to 80 mph require 100 to 300 hp which consume an immense amount of non-renewable fossil fuel, emit noxious pollutants and greenhouse gases. Their capital, maintenance and fuel cost are estimated by the AAA at 55 cents per mile or $8500 per year for a 15, 000 miles/year usage. This average does is higher for SUVs or trucks which recently represent 50% of the car market. For more inclusive costs of our transportation check out www.oasisdesign.net
Most (80 %) commuting or shopping trips involve a single rider traveling less than 10 miles one way. On most days in larger cities freeways become low speed roads due to accidents and congestion during rush hours.
The considerations cited above have lead to the concept of Ecotrike. It is a vehicle which uses solar panels to store energy in batteries. Instead of 100 to 200 hp of a conventional car Ecotrike uses electric motors that are rated at 5 hp, and use only 1 hp on level ground at a steady speed of 30 mph. It has zero emissions and on most days does not require charging from electrical sources that burn fossil fuels. It uses 1/3 of a parking space. The Ecotrike’s low speed, combined with an enclosure and seat belt reduce the likelihood of injury. All transportation costs are reduced significantly. Fuel cost without sun is 1 cent per mile. Insurance costs are very low. Depreciation on the estimated $7000 cost of the vehicle will be at 1/4 of that of most conventional vehicles. At 380 pounds it also uses much less resources for construction and maintenance.
Ecotrike is not meant to replace cars, trucks and SUVs for hauling large loads, multiple passengers or trips longer than 50 miles. It has been demonstrated as a practical vehicle for commuting, shopping and recreation for round trips of less than 50 miles.