Why Don't Solar Powered Cars Exist?



Solar power is abundant and readily available, so why don’t cars use it?
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With electric cars becoming more popular and a shift towards renewable energy sources is taking place, an obvious question becomes: why don’t we simply put solar panels on top of cars? Could this help with the lack of charging infrastructure? Realistically, what would it take for solar powered cars to work out, and why haven’t they been successful up until this point?

This video will analyze the surface area of a modern car, providing an estimate for how much solar power it could actually generate, what speeds the cars could be capable of, and how long the cars would take to charge. We’ll take into consideration the solar constant, the amount of solar power that actually reaches Earth’s surface, the efficiency limits of solar panels, the curvature of the Earth (it isn’t flat), and analyze how this impacts a solar car’s performance. We’ll also check out Aptera Motors, who’s planning to make a car that will never need to charge, thanks to solar panels!

References:
Solar Constant –
Global Consumption –
Surface Energy –
Solar Efficiency –
Aptera Motors “Never Charge” –

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35 comments

  1. What if we powered the battery. With Wind , solar panel and ac motor connected with the wheel. Wind that is powering another ac motor with some sort of complex gear box to generate more force for the ac motor. Will it be enough to indefinitely or at least lessen the reliability of solar panel.

  2. I would like manufacturers to equip cars with a small solar powered trickle charger with a BMS to keep the 12 volt battery topped up and extend it's life. Fewer dead batteries would make vehicles more reliable for little expense. Batteries being expensive and contemporary vehicles loaded with electronics would make this a welcome addition.

  3. your calculation does not seem right. because your calculation shows that you can charge up your tesla almost 4 times a month, which means you can drive about 800 miles each month, or, at least 400 miles each months. that is enough for maybe half of the people in usa.

  4. How to get a solar powerd car
    1. Get an electric car
    2. Get solar panles on your house
    3. charge your car with the power from those solar panels

  5. 5 months later jason.. Go check out the sono sion on the fully charged chanell. It charges from The sun dude. And with a plug too..

  6. You had me in the beginning… “no, he’s not using a cross section to calculate that!” 🤣 in wasn’t until I started checking out the rest of the board I realized what you were doing. Well played sir tips hat

  7. i considered putting 20 panels (5kw) on top of my semi truck trailer but when i ran the numbers, it wasnt even enough to run the a/c overnight.

    then tesla announced its electric semi truck and thought they could use this to gain range. drop off a trailer/panels/battery pack at a shipper. 3 days later (pretty standard practice anyway) the batteries are recharged and double your range.

    it just seems like there should be a useful reason to put solar panels on a tractor trailer considering fuel can cost as much as $80k per year for a team.

  8. Cause they want you to get ripped off at the pump and don't want you driving from a free fuel source you generated

  9. Put your solar panels on a trailer so your electric vehicle can toe it, both can be connected to your panel, with disconnect and transfer switch, put a panel on the trailer with your portable ac unit, maybe live a little longer.

  10. I find it interesting that if you take the 8.3 days to charge a Model 3 and look at the 358mi range, you get over 43 miles a day into the Tesla. That’s more than enough for the average daily commute. Teslas should totally have solar panels! Charging would only ever be needed on road trips.

  11. You should redo these calculations using the drag coefficient of an actual solar car that is about to be put to Productions such as the sono sion and also calculate how much energy the windows could gather if they are window solar panels.

  12. You're forgetting that solar panels can be placed on the sides of the cars as well, you're also forgetting the fact that solar cars don't necessarily have to be as heavy as difficult cars, nor do they have to require that old boxy shape that was standard for combustion engines

  13. What if you could increase sun rays the way a magnifying glass does? How much does a magnifying glass increase the sun's rays (Especially advantageous in low light situations)? Let's start with how much do you need and then go about determining how much you need to magnify to have success. I think there is even solar windows that use reflected light to increase the light absorbed. Where there is a will there is a way.

  14. Why don't these electric cars also have smallish wind turbines in the front grill area or under the car ect? That plus solar panels, would that make a difference?. Also have some fold out panels so when parked it charges better.

  15. Lets simplify a little bit.
    We can just look how much electricity makes "average" modern solar panel of curtain size. We also have consumption data in Tesla cars.
    "Average" solar panel 1 square meter size produces 150-200 W per hour with a good sunlight. Driving Tesla in a city results in average consumption around 20-27 kW per 100 km. Theoretically, if you would drive with maximum efficiency you can make 19 kW per 100 km – but it would be fairly slow ride.
    So this is a real life numbers – in order to produce around 90 kW/h (to fully charge Model's 3 battery) you need a whole house-sized roof solar station working about 3-4 days

  16. so It might actually work, especially for something bigger and longer, like a bus, or a ca with a solar trailer. we just need to punch up the efficiency. absolutely doable.

  17. i wonder how efficient the plants are doing with sun light, maybe we can learn a thing or two from them.dont forget to save for a rainy day

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