Technology: Racing Along on Sunshine

A solar-car contest points the way to practical electric vehicles

One contestant looked like a horseshoe. Another resembled a giant pizza box with a bubble on the top. Others were shaped like teardrops, pea pods, torpedoes or pyramids. All were festooned with dark glassy cells that shimmered like fish scales in the sun as the vehicles purred, rather than roared, down the back roads of America. Along the way, people gawked and pointed, squinted and saluted, did double takes, took snapshots and lifted small children to give them a better look at what their future might hold. "Oh, here comes another one!" cried Susie Black, one of hundreds of people who...

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