TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's first solar-powered vehicle began its test trip Sunday.
"The car began its 420-kilometer (261-mile) test-drive to the central city of Isfahan," Karen Abrinia, the leader of the project at Tehran University, told state television.
The vehicle, Ghazal, Farsi for gazelle, took an eight-member team six months to build at a cost of $150,000. It has a top speed of 100 kilometers (62 miles) and will compete at Taiwan's international Tour de Sol race this summer, he said.
"Based on an invitation by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the team will later go the United States to cooperate in constructing solar-powered cars there," Abrinia said.
The solar car, albeit a modest project, is the latest of several technological achievements Iran has announced this year. And its controversial nuclear program is a source of national pride.
But non-Iranian experts have questioned Tehran's claims in April that it developed advanced weapons, including a flying boat and missiles invisible to radar.