Solarmobility: The Next Big Thing?

Solarmobility: The Next Big Thing?-thing

Already in 1955, the American engineer William G. Cobb from General Motors The concept of a solar car in Chicago before. Especially in the 1970s and 80s, solar powered cars – even in racing – were the most innovative thing that had to offer this time. In the following decades, the concepts were heavily pushed into the green corner, and thus from the field of view of the crowd. When it comes to companies like Sono Motors or Lightyear, that should change. Solar integration will be the next big thing, they are convinced.

The example of the electric car is typical that certain technologies see a breakthrough at certain times – or not. End of the 19th. For centuries, cars with electric drive were widespread than internal combustion engines, and were considered advanced and more comfortable. The price decline in the oil and a technical further development helped the burner for decades of victory. The climate crisis and an increasing environmental awareness is due to the fact that the old success model electric car experienced a revival today. About every 5. New cars in Germany is already driven fully electric, the most common negative arguments such as a higher purchase price and low ranges are successively taken from the sailing. According to the US news portal Bloomberg, the cost of the battery has fallen by around 89% from 1.191 dollars per kWh to 137 dollars per kWh (2020), at the same time the energy density increases. And the end of the road in the development of new battery cells and thermal concepts is far from being reached.

Photovoltaics went through a similar development. Solar is already one of the cheapest sources of electricity today, as confirmed by the International Energy Agency. The integration of solar cells in vehicles is therefore a logical step. New production processes enable flexible PV modules that can be adapted to complex body geometries. A number of companies have already joined forces in the Alliance for Solar Mobility (ASOM) to further advance solar mobility. According to a finding of the “PV2GO” research project, the 44 million cars move on a traffic area of 9.427 km². All roof areas of vehicles in Germany together correspond to approximately twice the total area of Lichtenstein. A huge potential waiting to be tapped.

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14 thoughts on “Solarmobility: The Next Big Thing?”

  1. 44 million cars times an estimated 5 m² roof area (that’s rather generous, often it’s not 3) results in more like 220 km²…even the complete base area of a car on average would only result in 400 km².
    What did the authors expect??

    Irrespective of this, 500 watts / peak easily fit on a roof (assuming modules with a high degree of efficiency), which would then result in Germany between 250 and 400 kWh, i.e. 1.500 to 2.500 km mileage…at least..
    900 to 1100 full load hours (i.e. 450 to 550 kWh / anno), on the other hand, are illusory, since there should certainly not be a constant optimal alignment as with a permanently installed system..

  2. When it comes to solar cells on the car roof, I always think to myself: Do I really want to leave my car in the sun all day?? At home, my car is almost always in the garage, also to protect it from environmental influences. When I’m on the road, I prefer shady parking spaces so that the interior doesn’t heat up so much, cooling it down takes more energy. And it’s probably not good for the battery life if the car is left in the blazing sun all day.
    Sure, some energy is also generated in the shade and while driving. But are the few kWh worth the extra effort, the extra weight and the higher cost of the solar cells? I do not think so.

  3. Why not offer your great idea as a service?

    I offer my car roof area and then buy the electricity from them for 30c/kWh if they take care of the installation and the electronics. But I will continue to park as I usually do.

    This already exists for your own home and pays off for both sides.

    Let’s see if there are any who invest there.

    (lmao) 🙂

  4. To take the author’s headline question directly:

    »Solar mobility: the next big thing?«

    Perhaps “so big“Not … but maybe. but a »nice to have“.. 😛

  5. Solar integration is certainly a good idea, but the (3-4) winter months are hardly productive, and storm events (incl. hail !!!), so it is of course questionable whether the technology and PV surfaces will play along… effective 200-300 W per hour times 7-8 hours./ day times approx. 270 days a year, minus the otherwise. Bad weather days and consumption-related secondary consumption/losses
    Ioniq 5 can max. Generate 2000km (optimal conditions) per year with the solar roof (at a cost of €1800 in Austrian purchase price) the reference to shade or garage (incl. Parking garages in cities) further reduce the solar yield. A cost benefit calculation is negative over at least 8-9 years without bad weather events and good earnings situation. Idealism and green certain times outside. LG from Vienna
    # Thoughtful

  6. There are competitions with solar cars and the results are absolutely sobering. Even these of genuine professionals earthed Ultralightweight constructions with high-tech components are barely from the spot in the shadowless Australian desert. You can look at that. There are also model calculations for the solar roof of the IoniQ5 for 1290 €. Since you get to 13 years to never expect. But you have the advantage that there is the Ioniq5 and the car is good.

    Who does not have it with sober facts, but prefer to dream that has found a parasite here that looks at him. Because there will be such a few financing rounds. Whether there will ever be a car is a completely different question. Nothing indicates that. There is no income when other manufacturers build solar panels on their cars. Because everyone can do what they want. There is no patent on it. Had the Audi A8 decades ago.

    If the Sion existed, you probably wouldn’t want it. A car is a sophisticated combination of thousands of special parts that have to function individually and in combination. Mistakes lurk in every part. As an American company had to learn, even the plastic rear apron is a part that, at second glance, contains a lot of know-how, because it also has to function aerodynamically from the inside and has to get rid of water, snow and dirt via a drainage function. And from experience, I don’t trust Sono at all in the area of practical design knowledge.

  7. That works particularly well with solar roofs for the future 3- and 4-wheel pedelecs, if there are many well-developed bike lanes and most people in urban areas use these pedelecs instead of SUVs and for their 250 W motor the solar roofs are sufficient for many kilometers.

    The Sion can gain an average of 112 km (up to 245 km) additional range per week using pure solar energy. Complete self-sufficiency over short distances.


    If you count 39-40 weeks (around 9 months) and the average 112 km from Sion, then it’s around 4.400 km per year – extrapolated to around 6 per year.000 km annual mileage – i.H. these vehicles could do without charging for around 9 months a year and make the (green) electricity available to other users if they parked on the side of the road – like many cars in my town.

    The so-called balcony power plants (PV systems) are available from around 300-400 euros for end customers, the manufacturers should have similar additional costs for the solar roofs in mass production. I reckon that solar roofs will be standard equipment in e-cars in a few years, along with air conditioning.

    In addition to vehicles Also, the many roofs throughout the country, which are still without PV systems, have to be equipped with these systems. Here the new traffic light government is asked to show that it really takes climate protection seriously and is finally releasing the brakes on the expansion of green electricity.

    1. 9427Km2=9427000m2 x 0.2KWp = 1885400KWp = 1.8854MWp in words 1.9 million watts peak. That should silence any doubter. Extrapolated over the year, this is an extreme amount of electricity that does not have to be supplied from other sources. It can be passed on to someone else. Also the Co2, which could be saved.
    2. Reply
    3. Solar mobility with the solar radiation of northern Europe and the efficiency of today’s cells is guaranteed not to work for long distances with obese SUVs. For small cars and light vehicles with a short-distance usage profile, however, it can often be an alternative to the charging station.

    4. Rooftop PV makes some sense at lower latitudes.
      Mainz is in 50th place. Latitude, Los Angeles on the 34th. latitude.
      Singapore is already close to the equator.

    5. It sucks again, this discussion here. I put it like this:
      I’m hoping it will only be available as a premium option as many don’t
      require. Given the already prohibitive prices, I would not be willing to pay for this. Because, …(and here we are again with very individual driving profiles) I don’t need it 100% in the dark season and only a little bit in summer.

    6. The following scenario: Island residents need the car every 14 days to 6 weeks, departing from the parking lot on the mainland, in order to then be able to carry out the mainland activities due to the lack of public transport. Charging by car park operators rather questionable. Then what could be better than charging the vehicle with the modules in order to drive off with a full battery. The option of enabling carcharing with other islanders without an additional provider also has something to offer.
      Anyone who sees no sense in the concept can decide differently. The concept will never be a fundamental decision, but just the right thing for us.
      Let the market decide, we’ll talk about it in 10 years.

    7. Solar Mobility (ASOM) is a sensible and logical step. As long as there is no significant government support, Sono Motors and Co. driven to the wall by the big manufacturers.


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