Why do electric cars not have solar panels?



Exploring why Electric Cars Do Not Have Solar Panels

The introduction of electric cars has revolutionized the automotive industry and provided an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. As the technology continues to evolve and improve, however, many people wonder why electric cars don’t have solar panels. The fundamental reason has to do with the limited acreage available on the roof of an electric car, which doesn’t provide enough space for a large enough solar collection system to make a meaningful contribution to the car’s battery. In this article, we will explore the distinction between electric cars and solar panels, the reasons for the lack of solar panels on electric cars, potential solutions for the problem, advantages of implementing solar panels on electric cars, and current implementations of solar panels on electric cars.

Reasons for Lack of Solar Panels on Electric Cars

The development and function of solar panels play a major role in why electric cars don’t have them. Solar panels are made up of many photovoltaic cells that contain microscopic amounts of material that capture photons of light energy. When these cells are exposed to the sun, electricity is generated directly. Although feasible, the higher cost and lower efficiency of this conversion means that there are far more efficient ways to power an electric car.

Electric cars have very specific requirements and limitations in terms of size and power. These have to be taken into consideration when looking at solar panel integration. Electric cars usually have a quite small roof area compared to gasoline cars, and thus more limited space for installation of large enough panels to recharge the battery, which is the ultimate goal. Without a large enough solar collection system, the electric car does not have the capacity to produce enough energy to supplement the charging of the main battery.

Potential Solutions for the Problem

One potential solution for the problem is to utilize specific designs for solar panels on the roof. Solar roof tiles and shingles, for instance, are specifically designed to collect solar energy while still looking like standard roof tiles. Companies like Tesla and Panasonic have already taken the lead in developing solar roof tiles that are sleek and highly efficient. This would give electric cars a much larger solar collection system, which would enable them to generate a meaningful amount of energy to supplement the battery.

For electric cars with a smaller acreage on the roof, there are other adaptive solutions that could be implemented. For instance, clear film and paint coatings can be applied to the outside of electric cars in order to absorb solar energy. These approaches are usually not as efficient as larger solar collection systems, but at least some additional energy could be produced for charging the battery.

Advantages of Implementing Solar Panels on Electric Cars

The integration of solar panels on electric cars has a number of advantages that are worth considering. The most obvious advantage is the lower cost of manufacturing and operation. Solar panels are relatively inexpensive, as the cost of materials and installation are often cheaper than traditional gasoline cars. Additionally, solar panels are a renewable energy source, providing an eco-friendly mode of transportation that would significantly reduce the amount of harmful emissions produced by gasoline cars. Over the long-term, this could lead to a major reduction in global pollution and benefit the environment.

Current Implementations of Solar Panels on Electric Cars

There are already a number of electric and hybrid cars that have integrated solar panels in some way. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, for instance, has solar panels installed on the roof that generate enough energy to run the air conditioning and other small systems while the car is parked. Other cars like the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, and Volkswagen e-Golf all have some form of solar panels that enable the vehicles to generate additional electricity for the battery.

Conclusion: Evaluating the Benefits of Implementation

To summarize, electric cars do not have solar panels primarily due to the limited available acreage on the roofs of these vehicles. However, thanks to specific designs such as solar roof tiles and shingles, as well as clear film and paint coatings, it is possible to produce enough energy to supplement the battery in order to lower the cost of operation and reduce emissions. Several cars have already integrated solar panels in some form, and it is likely that more cars will do so in the coming years. All in all, solar panels on electric cars can provide an array of advantages that could help revolutionize the automotive industry.


Further References on the Topic:

● Roth, E. (2019). The Advantages & Disadvantages of Electric Cars. https://sciencing.com/advantages-disadvantages-electric-cars-8982530.html

● Hiser, Z. (2020). How Solar Works | Solar Panel Basics. https://www.energysage.com/solar/solar-panels/how-solar-panels-work/

● AEDRIC. (2020). What is an Electric Car & Why Do We Need it? https://www.aedric.com/electric-car/

● Broekema, S. H. (2018). Solar Panels on Electric Vehicles: a Review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 91, pp.248-262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2018.03.019

● Smith, L. (2018). Solar Panel Design for Electric Car Use. Inventors Eye. https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/inventors-eye/solar-panel-design-electric-car-use

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