Assessing integrated solar roofs for EVs

Posted: May 15, 2020 by oldbrew in innovation, Travel
Tags: ,

Lightyear One prototype


A novel range extender, or just another way to make costly EVs even more expensive? Insurance costs could be eye-watering too.

High-tech mobility innovator Lightyear and Royal DSM will jointly scale the commercialization of Lightyear’s unique solar-powered roof for the electric vehicle market, reports Green Car Congress.

With this solution, both companies aim to accelerate the global adoption of a broad range of Electric Vehicles (EVs).

Specifically, the partnership aims to integrate solar-powered roofs in a variety of electric vehicles, including cars, vans and buses, thus enabling users to charge their vehicle directly with clean energy.

The companies are teaming up to assess the market, starting with pilot projects for customers from the automotive and public transport sector, where the integration of a solar roof could represent a smart investment.

The global EV market was valued at $160-plus billion in 2019; and is projected to reach $800-plus billion by 2027 according to international market assessments from Bloomberg, IDTechEx and TIME. To accelerate this growth, the EV industry now needs to overcome the twin hurdles of limited range and grid-dependency.

The alliance between Lightyear and DSM addresses this need by enabling various EVs to increase their range through energy harvested directly from the sun. The integration of a solar roof is expected to be a good investment in multiple EV market segments.

This technology was initially developed by Lightyear for the solar panels of Lightyear One. Lightyear One is set to be the world’s most efficient long-range solar car when it launches in 2021, with a WLTP range of 725 km (450 miles).

Featuring five square meters of integrated solar cells protected by double-curved and super-strong safety glass, the solar roof captures sunlight continually whether the car is moving or stationary.

The result is that in optimized vehicles like Lightyear One, the solar roof can deliver enough energy to cover an average of 70-90% of the yearly mileage.

Full article here.

Comments
  1. spetzer86 says:

    How well does the recharging work while the car’s parked in my garage?

  2. JB says:

    @spetzer86 Until the door opener courtesy light goes out.

  3. Curious George says:

    Is it a mobile version of the solar highway, so successfully introduced in France?
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnparnell/2019/08/21/frances-solar-highway-was-always-a-road-to-nowhere/#7eaad6c71b69

  4. oldbrew says:

    ‘thus enabling users to charge their vehicle directly with clean energy’

    Only if they plug in to a power supply that uses no fuel to generate electricity. Assuming ‘clean’ to mean renewables made from concrete, steel, rare earth minerals, plastics etc. and likely to end up in landfills in a couple of decades or so, or to be just left to rot where they are.

  5. Gamecock says:

    ‘Featuring five square meters of integrated solar cells protected by double-curved and super-strong safety glass, the solar roof captures sunlight continually whether the car is moving or stationary. [During a few hours a day, if the weather is okay.] The result is that in optimized vehicles like Lightyear One, the solar roof can deliver enough energy to cover an average of 70-90% of the yearly mileage.’

    As their commenter said, the size is too small to provide 70%.

    Understand that the cost of installing ‘five square meters of integrated solar cells protected by double-curved and super-strong safety glass’ on the roof of a car is going to cost vastly more than any energy it provides.

    It is to replace plug in power. Which is supposed to be cheap. Which is supposed to be the selling point of electrics in the first place.

  6. stpaulchuck says:

    spetzer86 says:
    May 15, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    ROFLMAO! well said. Then there’s the two inches of ice covering the roof off and on all winter up in the Great White North, or a foot or so of snow, etc. Or the MONTHS of overcast in late Fall into Winter.

    I do admire their thinking and experimenting though. Although it’s hard to keep a straight face when they come up with stuff like this.

  7. ivan says:

    It is said that a fool and his money are soon parted. This pie in the sky scam is designed to divest green fools of their money.

    Just because some students can run a very special solar powered car down Australia from Darwin to Adelaide in the height of summer does not mean that a family EV fully loaded can do the same in the northern hemisphere in the winter.

    Doesn’t anyone do a cost benefit analysis on such stupid ideas?

  8. oldbrew says:

    Back in the real world…

    Hyundai Tucson SUV passes 1-million-sales mark in US
    14 May 2020
    https://www.greencarcongress.com/2020/05/20200520-tucson.html

  9. konradwp1 says:

    When used on home roofs, solar panels are mounted on stand off frames to allow air cooling, because the already abysmal performance of PV panels is further degraded when they get hot.

    I would be fascinated to know what brilliant cooling system Lightyear is proposing for these car panels they are effectively enclosing in a glass greenhouse. Perhaps a liquid loop, radiator and fan system that miraculously uses less power than the panels generate?

    It seems proposing any “environmentally friendly” technology is a license to abandon engineering reality and reason.

  10. oldbrew says:

    The solar panels must add weight to the car, increasing the power needed to propel it. The car also likely needs a stronger than normal (heavier) roof to support the extra weight.

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