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Published on February 26th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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Solar Panel Car Cover For Your Electric Car?



I’m not so sure how practical this is compared to solar carports or “solar trees” (or simple solar roofs), but these little solar panel car covers certainly are pretty!

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Here’s a brief summary of this solar-powered EV charging technology from Jo Borras of Gas2:

Industrial designer Hakan Gürsu calls this creation a V-Tent – it’s a collapsible, solar car cover that shields parked cars from wind and weather while converting the sun’s light into electricity that can to charge any EVs that happen to find their way underneath the V-Tent, and power any nearby street lights to make the chargers more visible at night.

Industrial designer Hakan Gürsu calls this creation a V-Tent – it’s a collapsible, solar car cover that shields parked cars from wind and weather while converting the sun’s light into electricity that can to charge any EVs that happen to find their way underneath the V-Tent, and power any nearby street lights to make the chargers more visible at night.

Here’s a video of the V-Tent:

http://youtu.be/sT3SCuwELRU

As several commenters below rightly note (and I playfully hinted at the top), this is clearly not the most efficient use of solar PV technology. Very likely, it is a concept tech that was done for fun or as a simple exercise. If it does become a commercial product, the selling points would be that it’s pretty, interesting, fun, artistic, or something along those lines — for efficient use of solar technology, a solar carport, solar panels on the roof of a nearby building, or solar panels in a nearby field are surely much more practical and cost efficient.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • DeanIverson

    hmm, I have been wondering for a while now why isn’t the entire body constructed with solar cells covering it?

    the entire body is a solar panel, you know space age technology like the Jetsons have..

    maybe a little antenna with a ball at the end would look keen as well, I think the idea of a panel is awkward, just do it right and make the entire body one big solar panel, maybe composite and aluminum sub panels to shed weight?

    think outside the box…????

    man, do I have to do everything?

  • alebert croft

    Its Totally strong and upgraded ..

  • SpiffySolarDotCom

    A basic tenant of good design (for the last 100 years or so) is the idea that form follows function. “Pretty, interesting, fun, artistic” is surface. The beauty is in the whole package and the thinking behind it. Take the solar off and you’ve got a really nice car cover concept—that’s an idea I could buy into. Solar shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be in the equation. Don’t try to do too much (another tenant of design). Car cover is done, now do a carport, and keep the manufacturing, materials, cost (form and function) in mind.

  • Pingback: San Diego Loves Green – Solar panel Cover for Electric Car (video)

  • Chris Gold

    I think this is actually pretty cool! I just recently bought a car cover from http://www.carcoveroutlet.com/, and i totally love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.t.peffly Matthew Todd Peffly

    A solution looking for a problem. I bet it was a design project where you had to “solve” at least two problems.

  • SpiffySolarDotCom

    What problem do they think they are solving? Whoever came up with this is more concerned with covering the car than with actually going anywhere in it. They also know nothing of the basics of solar cell technology. The output will be limited to the level of the cells that are in shade, or at the least optimal angle to the sun (a whole lot of them). In other words, they’ll be getting the minimum possible efficiency. I’d like to know, what’s wrong with carport or canopy?

    • beernotwar

      No kidding. Every time I watch the animation I want to scream “Ok now stop there!” when the solar canopy is fully extended to the flat, horizontal position.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Runar-Botnen-Totland/580487320 Runar Botnen Totland

    Weird solution. Would be a lot better to have the solar panels up as a roof, for optimum exposure to the sun all day long. This would generate more electricity and be less harsh for the paint on the car.

    I can see nothing in this design which is better in any way, that a regular roof with solar panels.

    Agree 100% with Hans

    • SpiffySolarDotCom

      Agreed, what’s wrong with a carport? “Weird solution?” I can’t figure out what they think the problem is.

  • Joe Murtaugh

    What about painting the car with solar cells?

    • SecularAnimist

      Eventually the entire surface of electric cars, including the windows, will be photovoltaic. In the not too distant future, the term “solar panels” will be obsolete — we will talk about photovoltaic MATERIALS and photovoltaic SURFACES. PV will be fully integrated into everything from buildings to cars to clothing.

      • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

        Not so sure about that. BIPV is still much more expensive than stand-alone PV. Maybe down the road it will be competitive, but no time soon.

        • Zer0Sum

          if by too expensive you mean that it requires too much energy to produce the products compared to the energy that they provide then you might be correct. That requires higher efficiencies than the current 10 – 15% or lower that BIPV’s are capable of achieving.

          Mulijunction, printable/paintable BIPV’s will make a big difference once they get efficiencies over 50% which is where the highest end multijunction cells are these days.

          Combined with nano tech like antennas and 3d solar and it should only be a few more years before they figure out on a technical level the correct combinations for maximum efficiency. That’s of course if they haven’t already and are just holding back to pay for the RnD costs of existing solutions that have already made it to market.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            I just mean compared to conventional PV systems.

      • agelbert

        Buildings maybe, but not cars. Just the insurance (cars have accidents) to replace the PV body parts would be very high. Also, people are not going to be pleased to lose car color selection to PV covered surfaces.

  • Hans

    What I understand from other sources is that the canopy folds awy if it is not covering a car. A bit of a waste of resources! A fixed solar cell roof can feed into the grid or load a battery when no car is there.

    • globi

      Also, having movable parts makes it less durable.
      Not to mention that it would scratch ones roof, if the roof had sand on it.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Agreed. That’s my main complaint. Why waste the technology?

      • agelbert

        Ditto. In regard to roofs, if that new cone PV technology matures to a large cone (for a round house), it would solve the problem of getting enough kw for small home. At present the roof area to living space is insufficient to provide the load an average home requires. In addition, the pointed type roof most homes have means half the roof (in a north south arrangement) is unusable for PV unless some expensive reflection material was set up north of the home. Just thinking out loud.

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