Sono Motors Scion EV is covered with solar panels to absorb free energy

Since I write about EVs and the like, I often get this question: Why don’t electric cars have solar panels on the roof to charge the battery when the car isn’t (or is) being driven?

It’s a common question on the surface, but it’s often asked because of a misunderstanding of the facts about EV batteries, the basics of solar power, and how much power an electric vehicle uses. So here’s the short answer: they don’t because that would take it literally. months For small rooftop solar panel to charge EV battery. In addition to that Nature The electricity generated by a small solar panel is not compatible with the needs of an EV battery. It’s a great idea and sounds simple, but technologically, we’re not quite there yet. Or are we?

German EV startup Sono Motors is about to prove me wrong (on multiple fronts) with the Sion EV, which it literally is. Wrapped up In solar cells. And they’re looking beyond cars to use this same technology to charge electric cars and other vehicles.

The $30,000 Scion Key (not to be confused with Toyota’s defunct Scion car brand) is final. Flexibility When it comes to power. Like other EVs, the boxy Scion charges from standard Stage I, II or III (CCS) chargers to energize its 54-kilowatt-hour battery, which gives it 160 horsepower and 180 miles of range from a single electric motor that makes about 200 pounds. Driving legs. If you’re on a hot level III, the battery will charge in less than an hour. But when it’s not sitting in outlets, sunlight hitting the vehicle is converted into power by more than 456 “half cells” that cover the exterior of the Scion’s plate. During high sunlight, these panels can generate 1.2 kilowatts (or 1,200 watts) of power for the battery, which is equivalent to the power used by a hair dryer or microwave oven. That’s a fair amount of juice, but far less than a Level II car charger, which delivers up to 40 times as much electricity. Put another way, the maximum power the solar cells on the Scion provide is about what you get from a wall outlet when you plug in your toaster. It’s better than nothing, but it’s still going to take a lot of Hours of sunlight to charge low battery.

But the thing is, Zion still makes sense. Most EV owners (myself included) don’t run their batteries close to zero very often (if at all), so the Scion’s solar array can add several miles to its existing driving range by sitting in the sun. not at all Hundreds Miles or kilometers a day, but maybe a dozen or more. The Sono system can add 245 km or 152 miles of range per week, which works out to about 21 miles per day – if we’re talking a 7-day week and you have uninterrupted sunlight (except at night, of course) unless June is above the Arctic Circle, in which case your range It may vary. If you’re just driving, say an average of 40 miles per day (and the actual average is in the US), that means half of your energy use is free and full for most of your driving. renewable. The downside is that you get to drive a car covered in solar panels, which long ago made you Top Geek in your D&D club, but now makes you look like a geek to your pickleball teammates.

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The Sion is literally a powerhouse of technology, the car can provide up to 3.7kW of power to common plug-in electrical appliances, so you can put together some epic margs at a tailgate party or power up a house, says Sono. Using V2H two-way charging technology. The Scion also has the ability to charge other electric vehicles in a pinch. Like I said: it’s flexible.

But Sono Motors is taking a good look at the Scion and applying the solar panel idea to many larger vehicles, where it makes more sense. Everything is covered with solar panels, and even buses, trucks, and trains have them. a lot of More real estate available than the top and sides of cars. As many cities phase out diesel buses and look to ban gas-powered vehicles in the near future, adoption of electric buses and trucks is increasing rapidly. Sono makes solar energy collection devices for those large vehicles, and even if the system adds a little energy to the batteries each day, it makes a real difference in how much, in total, the total amount of “free energy” is collected. A city should purchase EV fleets and trucks. A few percentage points of difference translates into millions of dollars over time – and the systems save diesel fuel to run AC and other low-draw systems on gas-powered buses. Again, in the aggregate, the overall savings over time will be significant.

And time is on Zion’s side. Powering an ever-increasing portion of our economies, solar systems will be a large part of the future global energy matrix, and over time solar technology will continue to be refined, improved, more efficient, cheaper, and more feasible. As more and more energy in the form of sunlight is being collected by solar tech, cities and EV buyers alike are realizing the savings. Every day, rain or shine, free energy comes down from the sky (more so when it’s sunny, of course), and average consumers and municipal leaders are (finally) starting to realize the long-term promise of solar power. .

Eventually, every car, truck, bus, and who knows, maybe even trains and airplanes will collect solar energy through solar systems that are so cleanly integrated into vehicles that we won’t even be able to see. And we can go back to the ancient Boxer Zion, unapologetically covered in solar cells, where that big change began to take place. Sion is now open for pre-orders.

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