Sounds ideal, or idealistic? The latter would be safer to assume given realistic data. Yes, ideally you can drive at 62mph and further use stored energy to drive at night. But realistic conditions would barely allow it to be the case. Not all of the energy absorbed by the earth (after subtracting energy lost to atmosphere) makes it to the ground. Either way, peak energy is only available at local noon, with off-angle sunlight limiting your power harvesting in the morning and evening. Of course, technological limitations make up the most primary factors stopping us from making a fully sun-powered automobile. It’s not possible to operate at 100% efficiency, but even if we made solar panels capable of operating at optimum efficiency levels, it’d still be able to convert only a portion of the received energy to electrical and other forms of useful energy. The Earth’s curvature can also affect the efficiency of solar panels, Fenske noted. It means only a small area of the Earth’s surface directly faces the sun at any given time. Everywhere else, solar panels are tilted away from the sun somewhat, limiting their ability to harvest energy.Factoring in inefficiencies and limitations and such, our ideal model Model 3 could in reality net out 1.5kW of power, in accordance with the previous calculations. At that rate, it would take 8.3 days just to charge the Tesla.
Despite these facts, Aptera Motors, an EV startup that returned from the dead, announced their solar powered vehicle of the same name which is set to commence production from Q3 2021. It’s an ultra-aerodynamic three wheeler, and before you ask, it looks and is nothing like the Reliant Robin. With incredibly low drag coefficient and light weight, it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and hit top speeds of 110 mph. It still is a BEV (battery electric vehicle) but it derives most of its power from the sun, Aptera Motors claims. It will still retain the ability to charge from standard 120- and 240-volt AC outlets using standard Level 1 and Level 2 charging station equipment. With solar panels on the roof and dashboard, and optionally on the hood and hatch, the Aptera has a total of 34sq ft of panels filled with photovoltaic cells. Apparently, the solar cells alone could provide upto 40miles of range.
Now of course it still isn’t the idealistic fully solar powered machine that you could imagine. And even now, it’s doubtful whether