Solar-hybrid car explodes, killing two Italian researchers

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Two Italian researchers have died after a solar-powered hybrid car prototype they were test-driving exploded last week near the city of Naples.

The vehicle, a rejigged VW Polo, was being developed as part of an EU-funded project to convert old combustion engine cars into solar-powered hybrids. The prototype caught alight last Friday during a test drive, leaving the two occupants in critical condition.

Maria Vittoria Prati, a researcher at Italy’s National Council of Research (CNR), died of complications from third-degree burns on Monday. 

Earlier this week, the CNR paid tribute to Ms Prati as “a brilliant researcher” and “an expert in the field of emissions studies and the use of alternative fuels”.

The other occupant, research apprentice Fulvio Filace, 25, died overnight, a spokesperson for the Cardarelli hospital in Naples told Reuters on Thursday. 

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