Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Solar Electric Cars

Flickr / Frankh
There's been quite a bit of buzz about electric cars this year. With several manufacturers releasing one. With promises like running costs of 2p per mile, why wouldn't you get excited. Maybe it's the low range, and long charging time. Here's a solution, why not have solar panels on the car (dashboard, roof, bonnet, etc)

The Problem
So several cars are stating a range of about 60 miles on a full charge. Which is great, unless you journey to work is close to 30 miles. If so you've got to start thinking, how many hills are there, how will the cold affect the battery, am I going to have to drive without the radio, heating air-con, etc to save battery power so I can get back home. Not to worry I have the solution.....

The Solution (possibly)
Why not just put solar panels on the car. Imagine you drive 30 miles to work, you could get 8 hours or so charging time while you're working. Which could mean you have plenty of battery to get home.
Even if it took longer to get to a full charge with solar panels, you'd hopefully still have enough power to not have to worry about getting home. With the extra bonus of you didn't have to pay for the electricity.

Current thinking
So imagine the current line of thought. Your battery has been charging overnight. You drive to your destination, a short journey. You pay to park in a charging bay, and charge you car while your gone. Lets be honest parking cost enough on its own at the moment, were expected to pay even more to charge up!

Solar Parking
Now imagine, the same scenario with solar panels. You've charged up overnight. You drive a short journey to your destination. you park anywhere outside (maybe you can even find somewhere free, but probably not) and charge your car in the day light.

Combined Charging
Even better, you drive your short journey, your battery isn't that low; but you plug into a charging bay, indicating how long you'll be gone. Your car aims to be fully charged by the time you're back, so it combines the solar panel and the mains charge to get you there. You only pay for the mains charge.

Feed The Grid
The best. You drive your short journey, and park in a charging bay. But you can easily reach a full charge from your solar panels alone, by the time you return. So the electricity you generate from the solar panels is fed back in to the grid and you get paid for it. How amazing would that be! Not only do you get paid to park, but you're also helping the environment by powering other peoples electrical devices.

This could be the future. ***could***. Probably not as oil companies would hate it!