Elon Musk claims solar electrical van makes even more feeling than Cybertruck

Feb 12, 2021 04:09 PM ET
  • Tesla employer Elon Musk states the Cybertruck might have photovoltaic panels as part of its attributes, but admits that a solar electrical van would make "a bit more sense".
Elon Musk claims solar electrical van makes even more feeling than Cybertruck
Image: thedriven.io

A Tesla electrical van has been touted previously-- although in 2018 Musk ruled one out till Tesla got a few other top priorities out of the way, such as the Model Y, the Roadster, the Tesla Semi and also what was after that known just as "the pickup".

Sitting down once again with popular podcaster Joe Rogan, the visionary entrepreneur mused on the advantages and disadvantages of powering Tesla's advanced, angular tank-style lorry with power harvested only from photovoltaic panels on its body.

It's not feasible, claimed Musk, unless it is not driven commonly, since you would certainly get less than 20km range each day from the panels.

" You potentially put the cover of the vehicle bed, put some solar cells in there, so you might simply leave it out in the sun," stated Musk in the podcast released on Thursday evening (United States time). However not more than that, claims Musk.

" There's about 1 kilowatt per square metre of solar energy, you're going to get perhaps 20-25% efficiency ... presuming you're dealing with the sun or not.

" You add all those things up as well as state what are you actually going to get ... if you can do 10 miles a day you would certainly be lucky," he stated.

Unless there is some type of folding solar array on the roof covering ... which is where the form of a van begins to make a little bit more feeling, says Musk.

" A van, since you've got a large level area, that's really where solar could start to make a little more feeling due to the fact that you could have a lot of location.

" You could have a roofing that is solar and when it's fixed [the awning] heads out and also supplies color and also tripes your area," Musk claimed.

" After that you triple your area and you have actually got a big flat surface area, maybe you can start having charging enough that you obtain 30 miles a day."

It's a fascinating idea-- and also one that takes the Sion solar van being prepared by German start-up Sono Motors, which is estimated to harvest up to 34km range each day from the sunlight, one step even more.

Musk noted that greater than 30 miles (48km) is not really possible-- at the very least not at a rate that is inexpensive, as was formerly kept in mind by UNSW solar research Ned Ekins-Daukes as reported by The Driven in 2020.

While the maximum academic efficiency of photovoltaic panels peaks at around 40% (cells made use of on the modern solar Airbus Zephyr airplane are 35% performance, for instance), the cost for a passenger car is expensive.

"For a big cost boost ... you're talking about for useful purposes ... 10 times the expense at the very least," said Musk.

Even so, a solar electrical van with basic 25% effectiveness panels would definitely be an attractive proposal for those that such as to go camping, Rogan notes.

Or perhaps, Musk jokes, for those requiring to in even more extreme occasions.

"Even if the apocalypse came around you can still drive," he said.

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