Solar cars are rapidly becoming more and more efficient, but they’re going to have to step up their game in order to beat the Celeritas, a 275 lb vehicle that can travel 2,200 miles per gallon. The car, designed by a team from Purdue University, just won the urban division of the 2011 Shell EcoMarathon international competition, which was held this week in Houston.

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The concept car may not look like the most practical vehicle, but it is hoped that its design will influence the next generation in solar vehicles. With gas prices soaring, the general public is finding that alternative ways to power their domestic vehicles are more and more appealing.

Team president Ted Pesyna said the students couldn’t be more pleased with their results. “We have clearly demonstrated the feasibility of an electric car that requires no burning of fossil fuels,” he said. “Thousands of hours went into creating this machine but it is so worthwhile when the results show that we will eventually be able to move beyond oil for our transportation needs.”

The Celeritas prototype can handle a full-sized driver seated upright and is equipped with headlights, taillights, a trunk, energy regenerative braking, pothole-handling suspension and rearview backup cameras.

The car actually generated so much electricity that it was in danger of overloading its onboard batteries. As such, the next model may come equipped with more gizmos, such as air conditioning, to use up the excess energy!

+ Purdue University

Via Engadget