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Could EV +PV be a win-win?

Dear EV enthusiasts,

This Yahoo Group group seems to have been quiet for a while, so I am posting an idea to stir up some discussion. If this is a completely daft and unworkable idea then please tell me so.

I included the following article in issue 61 (April 2011) of Energy Watch. It stirred up little interest in the SEF community. Any comments from the NZEVA community?



Fast-forward a decade, add a good dose of the Techno-Polly-Anna philosophy, and one might envisage a future advertising campaign with the strap line “Freevee – The EV with the PV”

Of course, on-board PV could not provide all the instantaneous power needed to drive a car. However cars usually sit around in the sun for a long time and are actually used for a relatively short time. Could PV on the roof of a car recharge its batteries and provide a useful amount of guilt-free energy?

A back of the envelope calculation indicates that three square metres of PV mounted on a car that is kept outdoors might generate enough power for 10km per day in winter and about 20 km per day in summer.

As for capital cost, bulk purchased PV might add about 5% to the cost of an EV.

This concept follows the principle of minimising the energy conversion steps between the primary energy source and the end use. At a modest speed on the flat in full sun an aerodynamic Freevee’s panels might possibly generate enough power to cruise, thus eliminating battery charge/discharge losses. The sun to mobility energy flow pathway would be most efficient when solar panels directly drive the cruising vehicle with the stored energy only used intermittently for hill climbing and acceleration.

A benefit that could ensue from such vehicles becoming commonplace would be to generate acceptance in the minds of the users that 15 km per day of personal mobility was the sustainable ration that was guilt-free (perhaps with an external display panel to show the neighbours your sun-to-grid ratio). Is 5000 km per year of independent personal mobility too restrictive a ration?

It this idea too far-fetched to be credible ?

Steve Goldthorpe

Afterthought – could PV panels on the wings of aircraft provide enough electricity to power all the on-board services and avoid the need for parasitic on-board generation of electricity from the engines?


Steve Goldthorpe
Editor of Energy Watch for the Sustainable Energy Forum

— Steve Goldthorpe Energy Analyst Ltd
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Source NZEVA


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