For fans of electric cars that really know their stuff, many might have heard of the Solectria Sunrise. If not, then it is interesting to know about, especially considering as its aim was to be one of the most efficient and high-range electric cars of all time.
Sadly, the Solectria Sunrise did not make it past three prototypes. A huge effort, unfortunately, saw no mass production. But, it certainly gives inspiration to manufacturers looking to produce the most efficient EVs.
Here's a closer look at the Solectria Sunrise.
The Solectria Sunrise: Background Story
The Solectria Sunrise was an attempt at the highest-range and most efficient electric car on the market. In 1994, Solectria Corporation took it upon themselves to innovate and design the Sunrise, an electric car with incredible battery technology. The aim of the Sunrise was to offer a long range of up to 375 miles on a single charge. Although this goal was feasible after testing in the 1996 American Tour de Sol competition, the innovation didn't go any further than prototypes. This means that, sadly, the Sunrise was never available for public purchase or testing.
Another test went underway from Boston to New York City, where the Solectria Sunrise manages to reach 217 miles in range on a single charge, all whilst dealing with traffic and driving down highways at speeds of 65 MPH.
The Solectria Sunrise had several prototypes that were in testing for several years from 1994, but never made it to production. Instead, the team only tested the range and more. It even went through crash testing.
The Demise Of A Great Idea: The Solectria Sunrise
Founder and CEO James Worden was a keen innovator, who took to creating components for solar raycers in 1998 before going on to design the Sunrise electric car. Although the Sunrise was ready to move to the production stage after testing the prototypes, the car was not meant to be. After California went about backing down on its ZEV mandate, many manufacturers, as well as Solectria Corporation, had to recall their designs and drop their lofty dreams.
Solectria Corporation went on to sell Sunrise and its innovative ideas to Azure Dynamics Inc., which is now out of business, while Solectria Corporation went on with its production of renewables.
Various parts of the prototypes were also put on sale after the issues put the Sunrise dream to sleep. In 2005, they went to a hobbyist-led project to produce a similar vehicle as kits, which was the Sunrise EV2.
Overall, it is a sad story to know that such a fantastic electric car was going to hit the market as early as 1994. The Solectria Sunrise really did seem to be as impressive as its aims were. It did prove to be incredibly long-range and efficient, and it would have been a great addition to the EV market. Yet, the California ZEV mandate took to crushing Solectria Corporation's dream.