Tuesday Dec 06, 2022

Cars And Solar Panel Roofs- Is There A Future Here? – Saurenergy

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Highlights :

  • Solar that directly powers cars, or even EV charging stations, is still not happening.
  • However, advances in efficiency and storage both mean that it could happen well ahead of 2030.

To reduce pollution caused due to fossil-fuel-powered ICE vehicles, the techno-world has developed and adopted various technologies to substitute fossil fuel as a source of energy. Electric cars have been one of the biggest bets  to achieve zero-emissions mobility. Some of the automotive giants like Volkswagen Group, General Motors, etc., have already begun to sweep the market with their electric mobility options. Tesla with its Model 3, Audi and its e-Tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Kona, etc. have been the models establishing their market presence in recent years and months.

EVs are dependent on battery technology for their fuel. In order to refuel, the battery plug-in stations or swapping points are used, just like gas stations for ICE vehicles. Which is where the first nitpicking starts. As grids remain powered by fossil fuel backed energy, detractors point out that electric cars are simply substituting one fossil fuel for another when they recharge. When you think about it, there are two obvious ways around this argument. One, to use solar panels to charge the cars directly, and two, to ensure EV charging stations are powered by renewable energy. As well see here, the odds of achieving the latter are way higher than the former.

Solar Roofs On Your Car

Until now, the roof of the car has been the most logical place to consider placing solar panels. The energy generated through these solar roofs is then utilised for running the vehicle, or actually, some key auxiliary equipment. Further, the cars may store the energy in the battery, so that when there is no availability of direct sunlight – like cloudy days or night time – the stored energy may be used to power some devices in the vehicle.

But are Solar Panel Cars Viable?

To meet the energy needs of a typical home, a solar array covering 500 square feet would be the basic requirement. But what would suffice the energy requirement of an electric car?

Few years back, a study was done to evaluate the number of solar panels that would be needed to charge an electric car. Accordingly, the study found out that a small sedan model, Nissan Leaf, at around 50 miles per day, would need a total of 3.44 kilowatts of solar panels. Even with the highest output panels today of upto 800W, we would need at least 4 of these on a car to make enough solar energy to power the Nissan Leaf driving 50 miles. Unfortunately design and logistics dictate that only one or a little more can be placed. Hence, insufficient availability of surface area makes the concept quite unfit for practically use.

Yet, this doesn’t stop the automakers in their efforts to use this concept in the cars. Some of the automakers like Sono Motors, Lightyear Automotive, Karma, Hyundai, and Toyota, and their products, have already been successful in making the idea work. They have been helped along by advancements in solar panel design and flexibility. However, many of them can’t be called “solar-powered”, as they require unfeasibly multiple hours of charge for a very short range without any external battery aide. These hybrid electric vehicles make slight amount of additional electricity with the help of solar cells.

Another intriguing yet impressive concept is EV charging powered with solar roof. …….

Source: https://www.saurenergy.com/solar-energy-news/cars-and-solar-panel-roofs-is-there-a-future-here

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