Tesla showcased a new solar range extender trailer outfitted with a SpaceX Starlink internet satellite system at the IdeenExpo in Hannover, Germany.
As EVs become more efficient, more people are considering the possibility of adding solar panels to EVs to increase range. But unfortunately, it hasn’t been as popular in full-size electric vehicles because solar power doesn’t add much range due to its lower efficiency.
However, many EV owners have been considering installing deployable solar panels as portable, independent charging solutions that might expand the range of their electric vehicles – sometimes in the shape of a trailer. Tesla stunned participants at the Germany expo this week by showing a technology that outfits a trailer with deployable solar panels.
Tesla also brought a Model Y cutout to the conference to show off its new structural battery pack with 4680 battery cells, but the new solar range extender is by far the unique offering.
The solar range extension trailer also includes a SpaceX Starlink satellite internet receiver. In addition, Starlink recently improved its system to allow users to access the internet from moving automobiles using its terminal.
It’s unclear why Tesla debuted the trailer at the expo; however, the company is unlikely to offer it to the public anytime soon. As seen in the photos, if these are all 300W panels, the maximum output would be 2.7kW. That translates to extending less than 50 miles of range each day, or one-third of that balled up.
The trailer’s demo was entertaining, but it was probably more of a marketing ploy for the expo, which Tesla only rarely visits aside from job recruitment.