GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I was wondering if I could set up some sort of mobile mini charging station for my volt to charge it when I don't have access to a plug. I've seen solar panels for sale at certain large electronic stores. Could I Carry them along with me and unfold them and set up when I parked and plug them in to get some extra kilowatts? Seems a shame to waste all that sunshine when I'm out and about!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,486 Posts
A normal solar panel will produce at optimum conditions about 200 watts of electricity. Panels are somewhere about 4 to 3 feet wide and 5-6 feet high. You would need probably 8-10 to even charge you volt on level 1 charging, normal 120 Volt outlet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
There's a company in SD that makes mobile charging stations (off grid) that have like 9-12 panels...big 300watt panels. There is a battery that charges when no car is connected to be able to store an entire days charge. Basically you would need about as much space as a roof face over a garage would have. Maybe it would be higher on a tracking panel that faces the sun directly, but the typical panel gets about 1kwh in the winter and 2 kwh per each panel per day in the summer. So 9 panels would give you 18kwh (assuming no losses with batteries) in the summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,181 Posts
So I was wondering if I could set up some sort of mobile mini charging station for my volt to charge it when I don't have access to a plug. I've seen solar panels for sale at certain large electronic stores. Could I Carry them along with me and unfold them and set up when I parked and plug them in to get some extra kilowatts? Seems a shame to waste all that sunshine when I'm out and about!
If it were worth the trouble, more people would be already doing it and there'd be lots of products to choose from. Unfortunately, it's not really worth the trouble, so no one is really offering anything of note. At 200 watts a large panel, you'd still need 5hrs of good sunshine to get 1kWh or 4 to 5 miles of range. Hardly seems worth the trouble. Better to setup a solar farm at the house, where you can make a small dent in your electric bill.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,336 Posts
At 200 watts a large panel, you'd still need 5hrs of good sunshine to get 1kWh or 4 to 5 miles of range. Hardly seems worth the trouble. Better to setup a solar farm at the house, where you can make a small dent in your electric bill.
Not to mention you wouldn't be getting the sustained/constant 8A required by the Volt's on-board charger to even begin a charging cycle from that single panel...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,013 Posts
You are thinking of some kind of trickle charger similar to what the the Fisker had in its roof panels. That area was supposedly sufficient to run the a/c to keep the interior cool when the car was parked in the sun in summer. You could probably rig up a Harbor Freight panel set to trickle charge the 12 v battery but for minuscule gain and I'm pretty sure incapable of the power output for anything but perhaps the radio. Answer: no.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
If it were worth the trouble, more people would be already doing it and there'd be lots of products to choose from. Unfortunately, it's not really worth the trouble, so no one is really offering anything of note. At 200 watts a large panel, you'd still need 5hrs of good sunshine to get 1kWh or 4 to 5 miles of range. Hardly seems worth the trouble. Better to setup a solar farm at the house, where you can make a small dent in your electric bill.
Or spend $40k for 88 panels, ground mounting hardware, and a giant inventor to completely offset my power grid needs, yet, at 8.9 cents per kWh from the power company, the ROI just isn't there yet. Where I live cheap electricity means this is just a pay to be eco thing. Is it wrong to hope for higher utility rates like in cali to cause me to go solar? Just like, is it wrong to want to be t-boned so I can go shopping for a new car? Or is it wrong to want $5 per gallon gasoline so I can feel better about driving an electric car? The ROI for the volt was there at $3.50-4.00 gas (plus paying half price for a new car with tons of incentive applied) not quite there when we were under $2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
120V at 8A is 960W, so you'd need about 1200W of solar panel to be able to reliably output a continuous 960W...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,130 Posts
So I was wondering if I could set up some sort of mobile mini charging station for my volt to charge it when I don't have access to a plug. I've seen solar panels for sale at certain large electronic stores. Could I Carry them along with me and unfold them and set up when I parked and plug them in to get some extra kilowatts? Seems a shame to waste all that sunshine when I'm out and about!
Solar Panels to charge your Volt=Pointless
Solar Panels to Net Meter=Priceless
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Well thanks for all the replies. Sounds like another disappointment. I guess we will all have to wait for the technology to improve before we can adopt this practice.
Didn't I read somewhere that some of the manufacturers or actually installing solar panels on the roof of the car ? Maybe the Ford C Max energi, or something like that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
I added just over 3kW to my rooftop system to cover the Volts usage. A little overkill, but my original system was a little under what I needed just for the house.

And yes - net metering, especially when combined with Time Of Use pricing, is a really good deal for the homeowner. Maybe a little too good. Which is why the utilities are fighting it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
Well thanks for all the replies. Sounds like another disappointment. I guess we will all have to wait for the technology to improve before we can adopt this practice.
Didn't I read somewhere that some of the manufacturers or actually installing solar panels on the roof of the car ? Maybe the Ford C Max energi, or something like that?
Some do - but it just powers the HVAC fan to keep the cabin cooler when parked in the sun. Maybe help trickle charge the 12v battery too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Well thanks for all the replies. Sounds like another disappointment. I guess we will all have to wait for the technology to improve before we can adopt this practice.
Didn't I read somewhere that some of the manufacturers or actually installing solar panels on the roof of the car ? Maybe the Ford C Max energi, or something like that?
My 2010 Prius had a solar panel on the roof that supposedly generated enough power on a sunny day to run a cabin fan to bring the cabin temperature down to ambient. It sucked in outside air to reduce cabin temperature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
Well thanks for all the replies. Sounds like another disappointment. I guess we will all have to wait for the technology to improve before we can adopt this practice.
Didn't I read somewhere that some of the manufacturers or actually installing solar panels on the roof of the car ? Maybe the Ford C Max energi, or something like that?
I think we have a better chance of seeing Mr Fusion in or lifetime vs. efficient enough solar panels where the hood, roof and trunk would be enough space to generate power to charge the battery while sitting outside at work. Though Ford had a concept at some auto show a few years back with a solar panel on the roof and a huge magnifying glass in a carport above to focus the rays of the sun. Thoughts of frying ants come to mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
The average solar radiation arriving on this planet is about 1366 watts per square meter. I don't know if this is clear day surface energy, in space, or what, but it seems to work out as solar panels are starting to be close to 20% efficient, so the math seems to work out to be in the 300watt range for 60 cell panels which are about 1.5-ish square meters. The w/sq meter specs are on the panel data sheets...but my point is that even if you had a kick ass 100% efficient solar panel, it isn't going to be enough to propel the car. But 100% would be pretty good to have if you could park it for a few hours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,945 Posts
I think we have a better chance of seeing Mr Fusion in or lifetime vs. efficient enough solar panels where the hood, roof and trunk would be enough space to generate power to charge the battery while sitting outside at work. Though Ford had a concept at some auto show a few years back with a solar panel on the roof and a huge magnifying glass in a carport above to focus the rays of the sun. Thoughts of frying ants come to mind.
The lower 48 US states all have ideal solar potential of between 4 and 5 kwh per square meter. You pretty much ahve to be in San Diego, Arizona or New Mexico to get more than 4-and-a-fraction. That doesn't represent "average conditions", that's clear skies perfect conditions of just "sun through atmosphere" maximum output per day, with perfectly efficient equipment. Real world equipment is more likely to actually get 1 kwh per day per square meter, and the hood and roof of a car isn't likely to be much more than 2 or 2.5 square meters, so you're looking at MAYBE ten miles a day. More likely 7-8 on clear sunny days.

Now solar canopies over parking lots feeding Level 1, maybe level 2, chargers under that canopy is pretty feasible. Parking spaces are about 15-18 square meters and that's enough for each space to 3-5 kw at midday with some southern exposure. Which isn't usually tough to come by in a suburban parking lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,945 Posts
The average solar radiation arriving on this planet is about 1366 watts per square meter. I don't know if this is clear day surface energy, in space, or what, but it seems to work out as solar panels are starting to be close to 20% efficient, so the math seems to work out to be in the 300watt range for 60 cell panels which are about 1.5-ish square meters. The w/sq meter specs are on the panel data sheets...but my point is that even if you had a kick ass 100% efficient solar panel, it isn't going to be enough to propel the car. But 100% would be pretty good to have if you could park it for a few hours.
The 1366 watts per square meter is "in space, unshadowed, perpendicular orientation at about earth's orbit" figure. Once you get down to ground level in most of the US, dealing with latitude, atmosphere, pesky things like "night time", it's about 200 watts average over the course of a day/year, exclusive of weather conditions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Insolation.png

Edit: Obviously, PEAK rates, like the range three hours either side of solar noon, are much higher than 200 watts. Probably closer to 650-700. But that's still BEFORE you get to panel inefficiencies and things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
We need a quantum leap in PV efficiency for it to really be a solution to a problem.
As is being discussed in the two posts above yours- even a quantum leap to 100% efficiency would still not be enough. You might have to locate the earth a little closer to the sun.

There is still a tremendous amount of energy to be had, just you need a little more than just what your roof and hood area on a car could provide. Or it would have to store many hours of energy capture to be used in a much shorter amount of time later in propulsion.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top