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An option that I would like to see on the Volt is a solar roof for charging while I am at work. My car will be sitting in the parking lot getting sun for nine hours a day. Plus another hour getting to and from work.
 

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An option that I would like to see on the Volt is a solar roof for charging while I am at work. My car will be sitting in the parking lot getting sun for nine hours a day. Plus another hour getting to and from work.
You do reallize solar panels would cover up the volts glass roof design if that's in the final production design. I hope it got left in.
 

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solar hood?

Glass roofs are not a selling point for me. My wife drives an SRX with the full glass roof. I draw the shade closed when I am in there because my bright blues are sensative to the light. Make the hood the solar panel then.....
 

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Solar panels can't provide significant juice except to run trickle loads but they definitely could be a marketing design feature and thin-film cells are not that expensive anymore. The trick, I guess, is whether or not you can put them inside the roof glass.
 

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Maybe...

I'm not sold on the glass roof although my wife likes the sun roof in her Saturn. Solar cells on the roof won't help much on recharging the car but they might allow running a vent fan to reduce the heat build up in the car while it's sitting in the parking lot. I like that idea for any car.
 

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I don't think I would like a glass top I have a camaro with glass t- top's and in Kansas I had to double tent the t-tops so my bald head would not burn!,Plus it makes the A.C. work twice as hard to cool the car !:(
 

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say no to the glass roof

I don't like the idea of a glass roof at all. sure it looks slick, but in the summer you're just screwed. Besides, having a glass roof is just asking to have your glass roof broken. Even if it is polycarbonate instead of glass, I don't want to have to stare up at a big plop of grackle poo after parking under a tree.

As for solar panels, I go back and forth. I'd say they should be an option. At best you'll get 100-150 Watts (with current tech) but, that might make a difference. As solar panels evolve that'll go up a bit, but I think the current trend is cheaper, not more efficient and you're limited to the surface area of the car. Assuming 10kW at 60 mph, you could go ~13mph with only 100W. That's right around "stuck in traffic speed", and might get you that extra 10 miles to the next city in the event you (in the height of irony) run out of gas.
 

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what about the weight

Besides adding cost to the car. It wouldnt surprise me if the additional weight of the panels plus the electronic converters negated the extra power generated by the solar panels for everyone except maybe those of us down in Phoenix.

Someone did a longer calculatoin in the old forum of how much power you could get from a solar panel and even with a lot of assumptions about maximum efficency it wasnt much. certainly wouldnt fully recharge your car.

on a cloudy/rainy day it would cost you range.(cause the weight has to be accelerated)
 

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Besides adding cost to the car. It wouldnt surprise me if the additional weight of the panels plus the electronic converters negated the extra power generated by the solar panels for everyone except maybe those of us down in Phoenix.

Someone did a longer calculatoin in the old forum of how much power you could get from a solar panel and even with a lot of assumptions about maximum efficency it wasnt much. certainly wouldnt fully recharge your car.

on a cloudy/rainy day it would cost you range.(cause the weight has to be accelerated)

Hi Flourflush, As you can see from my avatar I'm bullish on solar-on-the-surface (SOTS). Ain't she prurdy? I did the calculations and the assumptions I used were conservative. Say you can get anywhere from 4-6 miles a day on a sunny day in Texas. ;) About the losses from the weight of the cells and the conversion electronics. Those should be very small. Please check out the old thread in the old forum for many (too many?) details. The electronics are very simple. Thinfilm solar technology is very light, the distances to the battery very short, the conversion is very simple (and small) because only a DC to DC regulator is needed. Not some huge DC/AC inverter that is needed for a house-to-grid connected system. Here is a real world example of the technology: http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/ It's only going to get better, lighter, cheaper. It's great now for many applications and I expect in 10 years it will be a standard option. It's just adds too much functionality to be ignored.

P.S. The first Volt might not have a glass (or plastic) roof at all. Thus, lots of surface area to exploit.
 

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I've been converted to solar

Tex - As you can see I'm now of the opinion that the solar is worth it, even if it doesn't make perfect financial sense.

Lots of features on the car don't have financial payback, like a GPS, or chrome wheels, but if the owner enjoys the use of the product then why not?
 

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An option that I would like to see on the Volt is a solar roof for charging while I am at work. My car will be sitting in the parking lot getting sun for nine hours a day. Plus another hour getting to and from work.
This is just an awesome idea. Like you said, most of us park our cars at work for at least 8 hours a day. Why not have your car charging the whole time you are not using it? I think it makes tones of sense. Even if it won't totally re-charge the car; (would it? 9 hours?) It has to at least help! And in an electric car, anything helps.
 

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aftermarket

Tex,

Its not that i think its a bad idea. If the numbers work out (and i believe you if you say that they do) then thats great. BUT, I wouldnt want GM to spend any engineering hours on this.

The reason is because they have plenty to worry about with the all new drive system and the battery packs and all. I think that a solar cell roof is something that could be handled by aftermarket companies almost as easily as by GM. The only catch it seems would be integrating into the electrical system of the Volt. But if they(the folks that did the solar Prius) figured out how to tap into the Synergy system i'm sure they can figure out how to hook into the volt.

So I'd like to see the volt on the road as soon as possible. and am willing (and hoping) that GM doesnt include a lot of "nice to have's" in volt 1.0.

Specifically with the solar panel idea i would imagine it could be offered by an aftermarket company at the same cost as what GM could offer it for.
 

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...that depends on where you live!!!

Too premium might depend on what the return on investment is. Ask us crazy Phoenicians about solar power and I'm crazy about the idea of taking all that potential energy and converting it to extend the range of my car. Over 240-250 sunny days a year? You bet! Now Seattle, on the other hand....

As for the "plug in at work" concept, I already have that covered. See, you get in good with the HR department where you work by introducing them to the Volt. Then, you tell them that you want a parking spot with a charging station, and you'll pay the $2.50 a day to charge it (or whatever) and they get to add you to their Trip Reduction Program. I have already sold the HR powers that be on this program for mine. Win, win! ;)
 

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Would Solar Panels make a difference for commuters

I commute 40.2 miles a day (20.10 miles each way, and since I live in Silicon Valley, I like to use the air conditioner on those hot June days). 90% of that commute is at 55mph on an expressway or freeway, and 10% of that commute is on city streets.

Since the volt is being presented with a 40 mile range for all-electric use, I'm clearly going to be using the generator to make up the difference each day.

So, I pose a question to the engineers out there, who are probably better at coming up with the math to answer it than I am, and might even enjoy doing the math: Given 5 hours of direct sunlight while sitting in a parking lot, given the current technology of solar panels for efficiency, and given the size of the Volt's projected roof, how many miles would be added to the Volt's commute range for a day?
 

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That figure sounds about right. If you look around this forum you will discover that this topic has been discussed at great length. I calculated about 6 miles a day for a reasonably sized roof panel (Solar on The Surface - SOTS) enjoying the Texas sun.

Is this a must have feature taking into account today's solar technology? No. Should Volt 1.0 include such a panel on it's base unit? No.

This solar application, which will most likely at first be offered as a factory or aftermarket option, is like feeling the luxurious leather seats of a Cadillac Escalade while your finger presses the OnStar button. I for one will be checking off the SOTS option box should it be offered. If not I will happily leave my Volt at some aftermarket shop for a few days for the upgrade. Failing that I will customize it myself. The obvious advantages that go far beyond extended range make this a must have feature for me personally.
 

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if you could generate 300 watts an hour (thin cell on roof) and you use 8000 watts to go 40 miles. 8 hours of parking lot time at work you could generate 2400 watts of power. Now factor in a 20% loss, you are now down to about 2000 watts or 25% or 10 miles. It would be better for the Company you work for take advantage of the tax credit to go solar and add outlets out side. Or if they were to build carports with panels on top, you could generate 1300 watts an hour (8 panels at 160wh, would measure about 24ft x 6ft) per parking space.
 
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