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Finally, a solar car you can bear to look at

Posting in Design

Cry no more. This teardrop-shaped solar car from Cambridge University won't make you weep over the conventional coffee table look of these things.

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As British website The Engineer notes, solar-powered cars generally resemble coffee tables on wheels, with their expanses of flat areas maximized to house photovoltaic cells.

Well, cry no more over the look of these things. Students at the University of Cambridge's Eco Racing initiative have built a sleek, teardrop-shaped speedster called Resolution, The Engineer reports.

How did they do it? By placing 1,000 solar cells under a glass canopy and enabling the cells to track the sun and thus optimize the amount of light hitting them.

As chief engineer Peter Mildon explains, speaking like a chief engineer, "We've decoupled the solar cells from the aerodynamics."

For fans of specifications: The Resolution has a top speed of 140 km/h (zippy for a solar car). It measures 4.5 meters long by 0.8 meters wide and 1.1 meters long, weighs 120 kilograms, and has a battery range of 800 kilometers, according to a Cambridge press release.

The team recently shipped Resolution to Australia, where it will race in this month's 3,000-kilometer (1,864 miles) World Solar Challenge across the Outback.

More pictures:

A few good men. And even fewer good women. The design team and their baby, from the Cambridge University Eco Racing group.

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Green Machine. The setting won't be this lush when Britain's Resolution races in the Australian Outback this month.

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Photos are screen grabs from the Cambridge University Eco Racing website.

— By on October 2, 2013, 9:19 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure