Tesla unveiled its most affordable car, ‘the Model 3’ in the mid of 2016. Its reservations went to 373,000 in just a matter of one and a half months. The design of Model 3 attains the highest safety ratings in all categories with a price starting from only $35,000.
However, the incorporation of a solar roof in the same model was not announced at that time. CEO Tesla, Elon Musk was asked on Twitter if the Model 3 will come embedded with a solar panel on the roof to which he replied:
We will probably offer that as an option
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2016
The informal announcement may have sounded overly optimistic at the time, as the state of the solar technology does not allow a practical design of this sort. Considering the size of the roof of Model 3, a solar panel at its best could only add a mile or two to the range of the car per day.
Panasonic has just revealed a new solar panel technology called “HIT Photovoltaic Module for Automobile.” The new solar technology has been designed specifically for cars. It is available only for Toyota Prius PHV at the moment, but we do hope that it will be available for more vehicles soon.
Panasonic’s solar cells have a unique structure that combines a crystalline silicon substrate and an amorphous silicon film, and feature high conversion efficiency and excellent temperature characteristics.
Conventional automotive solar cells can output up to several tens of watts and have been used only for the auxiliary charging of 12 V batteries and ventilation power sources for parked cars; however, the use of the features of Panasonic’s solar cells allow a high output (approx.180 W) in a limited area on a car’s roof, enabling the charging of the drive lithium-ion batteries as well as 12 V batteries, resulting in a possible extension of an EV’s travel distance and increased in fuel economy.
The Panasonic solar roof has the flexibility to be designed to match that of the car roof, which allows for a more efficient installation process. The current advancements by Panasonic may add for some three to four miles a day to the car’s range, but that does not sound very sustainable, does it?
The first Tesla car with a solar roof will be the Model 3, but that will not revolutionize the electric vehicles a lot. What may change the world of Electric Vehicles, is the Supercharger technology that Musk mentioned a couple of months ago.
A mere 350 kW … what are you referring to, a children's toy?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 24, 2016
Solar roof or not, the Model 3 is super-safe, spacious and comes in a range of 215 miles per charge. An added feature is a very affordable price which makes it the perfect electric vehicle for you.
We would like to know your thoughts on the new technology. Comment below!