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So got a call from my mom yesturday who sent me a picture of the attached image.... she was like, "what is this and what does it do?". I kind of laughed but was intrigued as to why her 2004 VW Beetle had a solar panel to charge its battery?

Interesting thing is that it plugs into the cigarette lighter, which got me thinking.... could i use this with my volt? Or better yet, could i modify it to charge my main battery?

Wondering what you guys are thinking, or if any of you have found much info on installing solar panels to your volt? Every time i do a search all I get are charging your volt with home install solar arrays...

Thanks!
 

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Wouldn't do a thing as the 12V accessory outlets are disconnected when the Volt is powered off
 

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Dealers use them to keep the lead acid battery topped off on cars that may sit for weeks or months.

As mentioned, you'd need to arrange for it to be plugged into always on 12V to use it - the existing plugs are all switched.

It doesn't create nearly enough electricity to make a difference on the big battery - even if you could hook it in, which would be challenging.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good to know guys!

I have seen a few people with solar cells applied to their roof that they say "heats the car when its cold" or somthing.

Know anything about that?

Thanks!
 

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That's a new one for me. There are a couple of specific car models that have a factory solar panel installation in the roof which runs a ventilation fan to chill the car when it is warm (not below ambient, of course - that would take more power. They're just circulating the air to reduce the greenhouse heating.)
 

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You could rig up a small panel and connect to the battery terminal posts in the back of the Volt, but this is almost pointless unless you leave your Volt parked (or stored) for long periods if time without use and unplugged.

If you plug in or drive your Volt, the 12V battery is being maintained anyways. So the mini solar panel is really a niche use anyways.
 

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You could rig up a small panel and connect to the battery terminal posts in the back of the Volt, but this is almost pointless unless you leave your Volt parked (or stored) for long periods if time without use and unplugged.

If you plug in or drive your Volt, the 12V battery is being maintained anyways. So the mini solar panel is really a niche use anyways.
I really appreciate the reply, and understand the drawbacks of the small amount of energy these produce, but my big question is really can you heat the car in the winter with a rig like this to keep from having to heat the car with my battery, thus saving precious miles?

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...CJUCEPMCMAo4FA

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...d=0CJoCEPMCMAo

http://www.tooltopia.com/streamlight...4eYaAivE8P8HAQ
 

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I really appreciate the reply, and understand the drawbacks of the small amount of energy these produce, but my big question is really can you heat the car in the winter with a rig like this to keep from having to heat the car with my battery, thus saving precious miles?
Simple answer is no, you would need a house sized roof of solar panels to be able to make a measurable difference in off loading heating, which uses 4-6 Kilowatt/hr of energy in the Volts heating system

Do the math :)
 

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Simple answer, like others have said is No, but just to give you a better Idea:

http://www.viamotors.com/vehicles/soltrux/

The Via Motors SolTrux, basically a Truck with a Voltec type setup...this one has a Solar Hard Cover for the bed (Much bigger surface than the volt roof) and with the 800w option you could in a perfect day, perfect temp and the truck leaning the perfect way in a laboratory parking lot...get 10 extra miles into the main battery...

Dont get me wrong...I soooooo want that truck and the idea is solid...and maybe soon they can put more efficient panels on it...
but for the Volt... even if you managed to cover the roof and make the proper wiring setup...you might just get 3-4 extra miles.
 

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So got a call from my mom yesturday who sent me a picture of the attached image.... she was like, "what is this and what does it do?". I kind of laughed but was intrigued as to why her 2004 VW Beetle had a solar panel to charge its battery?

Interesting thing is that it plugs into the cigarette lighter, which got me thinking.... could i use this with my volt? Or better yet, could i modify it to charge my main battery?

Wondering what you guys are thinking, or if any of you have found much info on installing solar panels to your volt? Every time i do a search all I get are charging your volt with home install solar arrays...

Thanks!
VW New Beetles have come with these since the early 2000's. They've been on sale on ebay forever and I bought some a few years ago. I believe it's simply meant to keep a trickle charge on the battery to keep it from going dead if parked for a very long time. Kind of unusual, always made me wonder if VW's had lots of parasitic losses as a design flaw that they felt they needed to provide this. Or do an inordinate number of VW owners leave their cars parked for a month straight? I don't know. Either way, the wattage is very low. Probably like 10W-15W.

Even if you could easily tie in solar panels to the Volt traction battery charger, it would take a huge panel array to do anything useful. I install off grid solar systems. A residential panel that is roughly 65"x 40" is 250W. That would take up the entire roof of the Volt and would require about 10 days to generate 11 kWh (a full battery charge).
 

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I really appreciate the reply, and understand the drawbacks of the small amount of energy these produce, but my big question is really can you heat the car in the winter with a rig like this to keep from having to heat the car with my battery, thus saving precious miles?

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...CJUCEPMCMAo4FA

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...d=0CJoCEPMCMAo

http://www.tooltopia.com/streamlight...4eYaAivE8P8HAQ
You could use solar to generate electricity to run a heater to heat the car... theoretically... or you could cut out the middle man and just own a black Volt and turn the sunlight directly into heat without the middleman, expense and maintenance of a solar panel system.
 

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but my big question is really can you heat the car in the winter with a rig like this to keep from having to heat the car with my battery, thus saving precious miles?
That has kind of been answered a couple of times already but to summarize:
NO

The power required to produce any significant amount of heat would require a solar panel about as big as the whole body surface.
Parking the car in the direct sun when it's cold out should produce some significant heat inside.......if you get in it before the sun goes down.

And......does the Volt really use electric heat all the time ........and not use the waste heat from the ICE ???
 

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That has kind of been answered a couple of times already but to summarize:
NO

The power required to produce any significant amount of heat would require a solar panel about as big as the whole body surface.
Parking the car in the direct sun when it's cold out should produce some significant heat inside.......if you get in it before the sun goes down.

And......does the Volt really use electric heat all the time ........and not use the waste heat from the ICE ???
When the engine is hot, the car will use engine waste heat. For the typical Volt that's less then twenty percent of the miles it drives...
 

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When the engine is hot, the car will use engine waste heat. For the typical Volt that's less then twenty percent of the miles it drives...
On my occasional winter drive longer commute, I will leave the house with no heat and then use mountain mode, after 20 or so miles, the engine comes on and I will wait three-miles miles and switch on comfort setting. With 17 miles left, switch back to normal mode and turn off the cabin heater and the air comes out warm for another 5-6 miles. So in 30*F I have gotten 38-40 miles AER using the mountain mode sandwich.
 

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As said, DO the Math.

The sq. footage of the Volt roof and hood = X.
X times watts produced from sq.ft. of solar panel= Not that much.
And that is only during the ideal hours of a sunny day.

I had a Prius IV W/Solarsunroof. It was a 60 watt panel that intermittently ran an interior fan when needed.

Do a Solar Installation at your house and get all the Fed., State and Power company tax incentives.
And sell off the excess wattage.
As a Volt owner you'd be living the dream !!!
 

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When the engine is hot, the car will use engine waste heat. For the typical Volt that's less then twenty percent of the miles it drives...
Oops. Forgot there for a second that the Volt is a true "plug-in" !!

So if the heat is electric, at least maybe until it gets REAL cold, I'll bet that taps out some battery range......and would explain some of the complaints of anemic heat output.
 
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