As automobiles turn electric, solar installations in cars might prove to be the next big functional innovation.
FREMONT, CA: The market for electric vehicles is experiencing unprecedented growth. Apart from serving electric engines, car-makers are experimenting with a range of aspects. One of the most exciting developments in electric cars is the introduction of solar panels. By installing solar panels on the bonnets and roofs of automobiles, it is possible to harness solar energy and use it as an alternative to the main battery. Such an alternative is valuable from the environmental perspective, along with the advantage of convenience. Many leading car-makers have already added solar panels of varying capacities to their EV models. Although such solar harnessing systems cannot power an entire EV, yet they are considered a valuable addition towards fostering sustainability.
The energy generated from solar installations has the ability to run lighting, air conditioning, and infotainment systems in cars. Due to this, the burden on the main battery declines. This results in longer battery life in the short, as well as the long run. While some car companies are working on optimizing the solar panels to create hybrid charging systems, others are opting for a less intensive approach. But the prospects of applying solar to charge EVs is bound to get better as more sophisticated systems emerge.
An article published in ElectronicDesign recently discusses how cars embedded with solar panels are on the verge of going mainstream. In addition to that, it also names a couple of startups that are trying to come up with car models with entire bodies as solar panels. With such a design, EVs might actually end up eliminating the need to plug and charge.
The feasibility of solar-powered EVs is on the rise, and one can expect luxury car brands to offer sophisticated and dependable models in this category soon. For the economy cars, fully optimized solar-charging might take some time because of cost factors. But optimization in design, as well as materials, is bound to foster the integration of solar energy systems with the electric vehicles of the future.