Thursday, February 24, 2011

1987 Suntera Sunray Solar Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (sNEV)

The pictured Suntera Sunray Prototype Solar Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (sNEV) was built in Hawaii by noted engineer Jonathan Tennyson. The Sunray was regarded as one of the more inventive solar electric cars produced after the 1973 fuel crisis. Its fiberglass body was lightweight and strong and its generously rounded profile was designed to be as advanced visually as it power system was technologically.

Suntera Solar Electric Chariot Co was a company located in Honoka'a, Hawai`i.

The founder Jonathan Tennyson died of cancer in 1997, he was 52. When he developed cancer he said nothing and sought no treatment: “He was very quiet about his cancer but also very hardheaded. He had an agenda. He had a program. He knew that he had little time to get what he had in his head out.” - Tennyson had worn a full beard for at least a decade, but in his last years he had allowed it to get longer and bushier, emphasizing his hippie image. It wasn’t until his death that friends discovered that he’d been using the beard to hide the cancerous tumor growing on his neck

Only four (4) Solar Sunrays were ever built.

Tennyson began his career studying business at Duquesne University in Indiana on a golf scholarship. A career in marketing followed in Florida, where he also experimented with everything from propane to steam to run cars.

“I saw him as an incredible visionary as well as an entrepreneur,” said Konawaena teacher Bill Woerner.

Woerner said he took dozens of students to Tennyson’s farm to look at alternate energy projects.

“He influenced and changed the life of a lot of students on the island,” Woerner said.

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