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The dream began in 1955, with a tiny, toylike creation called the “Sunmobile.” Built from balsa wood and hobby shop tires, it was just 15 inches long. The 12 selenium solar cells that decorated its exterior produced less horsepower than an actual horse. But it was proof of a concept: Sunlight alone can make a vehicle run.
The years went on, and the dream evolved into a converted vintage buggy with solar panels on its roof. Then a glorified bicycle, a retiree’s garage project, a racecar that crossed the Mojave Desert at 51 miles per hour.