Ingineer wrote:Guys, as an engineer, I can say that adding any amount of Solar panels to the body panels of the LEAF will not do hardly anything for range. Your best money and effort is to put these on your HOUSE where they can have the most benefit, and charge your LEAF from them, and the energy banked into the grid.
As someone pointed out, if you just added the extra weight of the panels in as more Lithium Ion, you'd do at least an order magnitude better for range!
The only practical use for a solar add on has already been pointed out, and demonstrated by Toyota: Ventilation. Toyota's rather expensive option only cools the car on a hot day, as that's all the current state of the art in solar can really do for a road going ton and a half vehicle.
For all the people that still think this is a good idea, PLEASE go take a high-school level physics class and come back with your reality.
Sorry to be a downer, but the Physics just don't work, even if we somehow double the efficiency of the existing photovoltaic materials available, or put the LEAF into Geosynchronous orbit at 22,000 miles up!
Phil, I wonder how many folks who want to expand the solar panel on the Leaf actually think they would get much benefit from it in terms of range. I think the argument for the solar panel, affectionately known as the gimmick, is more in line with an early adapter's over all philosophy of supporting technology sometimes for it's own sake to help spur it along and for PR. One could argue that the $110K roadster wasn't exactly practical but it's hard to argue that it didn't help usher in the new age of EV's. Solar panels on cars could help spread awareness of PV in a similar way. The $70 LED lightbulb comes to mind, many early adapters bought them to support the technology and help it reach economy of scale, don't ask about the ROI, you could certainly do better in the stock market ... I was in that boat and I went for the gimmick on the Leaf for the same reason. I also see it as a seed concept, encouraging people to think about where and how that electricity that will be charging millions of cars in the near future is coming from. Without careful thought, electric cars may very well spur the next nuclear energy revolution if they become widely adopted, at least some will argue that, even though EV's stand to reduce baseload waste. Many people will assume that the only way to fully electrify the highways is to support expansion of traditional power plants. I think promoting renewable energy and EV's needs to go hand in hand, kind of a no brainer for most of us, but not so much for the mainstream that we hope will adopt this technology.
As a fashion statement, a flag for alternative energy, a mind opener, I have no problem with people wanting to expand the solar panel concept on the Leaf, no less justifiable than lowering the suspension or some other personal preference, but yes the latest in PV, applied to the car, is hardly going to add a drop in the energy bucket for these cars but it could help to expand consciousness and some will find that compelling. I do think there is an argument for having a full roof top and even hood option available, forget about practical, it would be cool!
Gasless: Silver 2012 SL, traded in for Lease on 1/13
Tesla S P85, Gray, pano, carbon fiber, took delivery: 2-9-13... LOVE this car!
9.8 kW PV Solar installed 9/12, http://www.westseattlenaturalenergy.com
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