We are one step further in finding a solution for the most important technological challenge for our 4x4electric adventure: charging the car with roughly 60m2 of solar panels. As this is an important milestone for our project, we would like to explain this in more detail.
Do you know the movie The Martian? Here the same technology is used to charge the vehicle with solar panels. You can see how in the picture bellow:
For our project, we need an off-grid power system: a system with solar panels which is not backed up with the grid like you have at your home.
The FIRST challenge in this: solar panels do not give a steady flow of energy. Clouds and birds give shadow, resulting in a power dip. Right after a cloud passes, the power peaks, as there is no shadow anymore. In addition, a reflection of the sun coming from the clouds can also reach the solar panels creating a short additional peak. To charge a car, a steady flow of energy is needed, so equipment is needed to stabilize the energy coming from the solar panels. At your home, the grid will stabilize the solar energy flow.
The SECOND challenge is that 60m2 of solar panels can provide a lot of power. If the sun is at its highest position, you could run up to 10 vacuum cleaners at the same time just on the power of the 60m2 of solar panels! Specialized equipment is needed to transfer this amount of energy from the solar panels to the battery of the car. As we need a lot of energy during our journey, all energy losses we can prevent result in additional driving kilometers.
The GOOD NEWS: we found a possible solution! Two companies with both their own technical expertise are willing to think and test to solve these challenges. Soon we can inform you in more detail about these companies and the tests we are going to perform! For the technical people among us: we found a possible solution to charge the car with DC, preventing the AC conversion losses.