Car solar panel roofs to become more common

Car solar panel roofs to become more common

Solar cells provide 10% of EV power

The roof of a car parked under the Australian sun in summer is hot enough to fry an egg.

That’s a lot of energy that’s going to waste and while we could easily have solar panels up there, cost and weight have been the stumbling blocks up until now.

Sure, we’ve seen things like solar sunroofs on the Audi A8 and an optional solar panel on the Nissan Leaf, however the technology until now has been used only very sporadically.

But now that could be about to change.

Electronics giants Panasonic are now producing 180-watt solar cells that can be fixed to the roof of a car and provide up to about 10% of an EVs power requirements over a year.

Toyota’s new Prius plug-in hybrid (not yet available here) is the first car to get the module and about one in ten customers in Japan are choosing to go with the optional extra.

Panasonic boss, Shingo Okamoto, says more cars will feature the tech in coming years.

“Car roofs have the potential to become a new market for solar panels,”

“We made history in the auto industry and in the solar industry with the sun powering mass-produced cars for the first time in the world.”

The recently launched (in the U.S.) Karma Revero harnesses solar power to charge the propulsion batteries in that car.

While the forthcoming Tesla Model 3 could come with a solar roof, though there’s no confirmation of that at the moment.

However, despite the optimism, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Colin McKerracher says the solar tech is still a way from being truly feasible.

“You’ll see panels become more common as an option, particularly on high-end electric sedans and SUVs,”

“But the range benefits are always going to be limited.”

About Kate Richards 1597 Articles
Kate has always had an interest in writing and cars and now as a key member of the Behind the Wheel website team she gets to spend her days consumed by both.Aside from being a contributor and an editor at Behind the Wheel, Kate enjoys driving her Lancer EVO and walking her beloved dog, Max!

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