The UltraCommuter is a solar-electric hybrid prototype built by the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Energy Research Lab (SERL). The car is on display as part of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland’s centenary events, according to an April 19 report on GreenCarCongress.com.
The UltraCommuter is an ultra-light weight, low drag, hybrid-electric commuter vehicle that combines photovoltaic recharging and grid recharging with a generator that burns compressed natural gas (CNG) to extend range.
Its target market segment is fleet vehicles, or as the “second family car” in Australia, according to the SERL Web site.
The car is covered with two-and-a-half square meters of solar panels that provide 375 Watts of electric power, good for 87 percent of the car’s total power needs, according to the report.
The drivetrain can accelerate the vehicle from 0–62 mph in less than 8 seconds.
In sunny weather the UltraCommuter can travel up to 37.3 miles a day on solar power alone. The 360V Li-Ion battery pack extends the range to 124 miles. For longer journeys compressed natural gas (CNG) powers a 10 kW generator, producing a total range of 310 miles, according to the report.
Fuel consumption of 0.44 liters/100km is equivalent to a fuel economy of 535 miles per gallon.