A green energy company from Windsor is collaborating with a firm from South Carolina to produce a new solar-powered vehicle.
"There's absolutely no precedent for any of this," said Sean Moore, CEO of Windsor-based Unconquered Sun Solar Technologies, after his company unveiled the new vehicle Tuesday morning in Tecumseh.
The vehicles will be built by Simpsonville, South Carolina-based Star EV, which makes plug-in electric vehicles for golf, recreation and "street legal travel," according to its website.
They will then be sent to Windsor to be outfitted with Unconquered Sun's "Windsor" series of solar panels.
The vehicles come in two versions: a utility truck, which Moore said can be used for industrial applications; and a tram, which is designed for passenger transport.
Moore said both vehicles can operate intermittently for a full day without plugging in to charge, and can reach speeds of up to 50 km/h.
Two of the "utility" vehicles have already been sold to the City of Toronto, and Moore said the companies are in talks with NASA to sell more.
Moore is confident sales will pick up as renewable energy becomes more mainstream.
"All this stuff is new," said Moore. "It's like the auto industry at the turn of the century.
"As it permeates the consciousness of people, and people accept it and embrace it, the jobs follow."
Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation chair Sandra Pupatello agreed.
"You need a few examples that it works, that it lasts all year, that there's really no bugs in the system," she said. "That allows people like Unconquered Sun to tell the story. At that point, I think it's going to be really difficult to slow sales."
Federal and provincial regulators need to give their approval before the vehicles are street legal, but Moore is confident that won't take long.
"I'm sure that they meet all the safety thresholds. It's just I need to get that certification," he said.
Moore said the vehicles would be the first of their kind to be approved for road use in Canada.