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I think that there should be an option for a solar panel on the roof. My car will be sitting in a parking lot for 9 hours a day, exposed to direct sunlight. That would be worth say 10 miles a day, over 350 days, totalling 3500 miles per year. That would save me 350 dollars a year over a car that gets 30mpg with gas at $3 a gallon.
So- 350 dollars times 5 years equals $1750. Yes, I would buy it as a 2000 dollar option and put the Volt up one on the competition.

Make it so, number one!
 

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I agree on the solar panels

They should also look into having a small wind turbine the size of the fan for the radiator, so when you are driving, the turbine would be spinning.
 

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I agree with solar panels for a medical reason ...

First it would be remarkable to have the car be able to charge itself. The idea is awesome and it would be an option that I would consider barring a ridicules price.

Second, Most cars that offer a sun roof or moon roof offer some way of closing and blocking out the sun completely. Being a person of fair skin and also being susceptible to skin cancer I do not open mine at all. The major sticking point is if you do not offer some option of way to close off the top of the car so the sun can
 

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Here is the link from the old forum dealing with a solar roof on the Volt:

http://www.gm-volt.com/volt-discussion/?forum=1&topic=76&page=1

It's has some heated debate about the positives, negatives, costs involved etc. Popular thread. Anyway, if you check it out you will find that I'm all for solar-on-the-surface (SOTS). It can add all kinds of extended functionality but will only add around 3-6 miles of range during a very sunny day in Texas. Not that bad but I think having a way to keep the batteries topped off or being able to run remote functions like remote Internet, advanced security, interior venting, etc. really add value to the automobile experience. I'm willing to pay a premium for that. I also feel that solar panels, once the price of the system comes down (perhaps from print on cells), will become standard on all EVs. Check out the solar Prius for an idea as to what a solar system might be able to do:

http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/

Also, please check out the state-of-the-art solar racers to also get an idea as to the limitations of the technology:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al25qj3cLLs

I hope to see some solar power assisted (SPA) Volts out there in the near future!
 

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A solar panel would be nice if it were to be cost effective, i.e., it would pay for itself and then some during the life of the vehicle.
 

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Solar Panels on roof

Solar panels on roof is an excellent idea vs the moon roof concept.
Batteries stay charged, cabin doesn't overheat (Tucson, Az).
Willing to pay extra (up to $2000). Photo sensitive black out windows
and windshield would also be a plus in a desert environment. ZapWorld
Lotus project to have solar glass.
 

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Economics of Solar Panel

For fun, I thought I would look into this just on a general basis.

The sun can provide up to 0.1 kW per square foot on a clear day at solar noon (not always the same as 12 noon). Let's look at a best case scenario in Arizona. I will assume excellent sunlight for 12 hours per day, 365 days per year. For simplicity, I will assume a 10 square foot panel, with a 20% efficiency.

Therefore, total energy to the panel is 10 ft^2 * 0.1 kW, which is 1.0 kW. Note, however, this at solar noon. At 6 am, the sun is low in the sky, and the angle of incidence is low, and a similar situation exists at 6 pm. Therefore, let's average the total day's input as 1.0*12*.85 = 10.2 kWh. Now we apply the 20% efficiency factor, and the net solar electrical power to the car's batteries is 2.04 kWh.

The following link is for average electric rates in the US as compiled by the Dept. of Energy. Click on Arizona to find the average electrical rate of 8.24 cents.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelelectric.html

Therefore, the savings for the solar panel is 2.04*$.0824 = $0.168 per day. If the sun shines all 365 days per year, the annual savings are $61.36.

I will let the more financially inclined readers determine what the solar option is worth based on annual savings and the interest rate on your car loan.
 

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Yeah, some like leather seats with 20 speaker CD sound systems and LCDs in the seats and I like SOTS. We can live it up AND be green! ;)

Oh, and come on... That just looks cool.
Don't get me wrong, I love it too. I'm always annoyed when there's something that cool that I can't afford (yet). I guess it's SOTS envy.
 

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Sots...duh!

For the past 2 decades, the major obsticle to solar has been the cost. And the same story has been told over and over...if the demand is greater, then the price will go down (good 'ole ECON 101).

Well, if GM makes 100,000/yr VOLT's with SOTS, then guess what's going to happen to the price.

The problem is, I just read that GM scaled back its initial launch quantity in 2010 from 60,000 to 10,000. Now how can we make this technology affordably on a small scale?

If GM builds it, we will come. Free energy, no matter how insignificant a percent of the total consumption, is still free energy.

When I get my VOLT, I'm putting a solar panel on my roof...no question.
 

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Econ 101 says if demand goes up, PRICE goes up.
Econ 101 also says that if demand goes up but supply goes up faster then the price will come down. Does it also talk about what happens when technology advances reduce the manufacturing costs to 1/3 that of previous technology? I don't remember but the answer is the price goes down... After volume production catches up with demand. <cough>

Anywayyyyy, SOTS is still too expensive for the base model but not so for an aftermarket option. <picturing a carbon fiber Volt with that beautiful green tinted solar> I haven't wanted a car so much since I was in high school and I saw a SS Camaro filled with cheerleaders.
 

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Does it also talk about what happens when technology advances reduce the manufacturing costs to 1/3 that of previous technology? I don't remember but the answer is the price goes down...
that part I would not call economics 101, it more Microeconomics. That only work if it can get a greater output value with the same cost or less from raw to the final product. As in Moore's Law play a role in Microeconomics as well. I see battery and solars will play in the hand of Moore's Law.
 

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Mr. Lutz talks about the Volt having solar roof option! Way to go Bob! Please put me on the list for that option.

For those who are not convinced, I am going to bring forward a few more of the threads that deal with this topic. SOTS (Solar on the Surface) is not just for moving the car forward. There are many that want to tell you it's not cost effective or that it has no use. Please go through the treads and make up your own mind. Why do they hate solar so much? Why do they feel people only buy cars or select options based only on cost (are we all driving Geo Metros?) is beyond me. Enjoy and welcome to the solar club!
 

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SOTS (Solar on the Surface) is not just for moving the car forward.
And here I thought the whole purpose of charging the Volt's battery is for moving the car forward (or reverse) ;)

There are many that want to tell you it's not cost effective or that it has no use. Please go through the treads and make up your own mind. Why do they hate solar so much? Why do they feel people only buy cars or select options based only on cost (are we all driving Geo Metros?) is beyond me.
I don't think anyone would say that the solar cell roof would be of no use. However, the cost of the options (or the vehicle itself) is of critical importance. For many, a $40k price tag is out of reach, or barely achievable. The "sunroof" ;) sounds like a worthwhile option, but it needs to make financial sense. Would I pay $200 more for it? Yes, absolutely. $2000? Not so certain.

I don't think anyone "hates" solar - it just needs to make sense. The active surface can be only so large, and that will generate only so much energy. I believe you will agree that by itself, the solar roof will provide insufficient energy to provide a meaningful charge. It's 500W (guess) output is better than nothing, but it's not like I can drive the car 40 miles on the battery, park it in the sun for an hour-long leisurely lunch, and drive another 40 miles without causing the ICE to run. Plus, it needs to be robust. What happens when massive hailstones (or the neighbor kid's b-ball) comes down on it? :eek:

I'm looking forward to see the solar roof - I want to see how well integrated it is. Just imagine something like a low-profile luggage rack with a big, one-meter square flat solar panel on it? :eek:

BTW, that SOTS boat looks pretty cool. Something like that could look good on the Volt. Can I get the SOTS in a different color? (This is a joke, and I would have put a smilie after it, but I had reached the limit of four already.)
 

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Texas,

I agree with you that solar has many great uses, but like other's have said, cost is a concern. I get your point about GEOs, but I personally see it as a little more complex. The Volt is already expected to stretch most of those on these board browsers wallets to the edge, if they can even afford this vehicle at all anymore. A costly solar panel, while a great addition(and I wholeheartedly agree it would be awesome to have) could break people's ability to afford this vehicle.

I love the idea of solar, I think perhaps it is often misunderstood that a LOT of people love the idea of solar, but just cannot afford it.

I am very excited that GM will offer a PV panel as an option on the Volt and support that decision.

My philosophy is, let the customer choose if they wish to pay for this, which will have two benefits. You can get your PV panel, and those who want one but cannot afford it will benefit from you paying the price now(early adopter) and as you noted earlier, the price will then come down to be affordable to those who couldn't afford it before.

Hope this makes sense and doesn't come across the wrong way, I see the point your making, just trying to help clarify what others have said. ;)

P.S. - I'll be getting the PV roof option... but only if it is affordable!
 
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