The Real Secret of Volvo's Solar Pavilion
By EV World Editorial Staff
Volvo's competition to design a solar canopy for its V60 electric hybrid produced a beautiful, if complex, solar charging canopy, but the real magic is what's yet to come.
The real news about Volvo's foldable solar pavilion isn't that it can be stowed away the back of their Volvo V60 electric hybrid or that it can take 12 hours to charge the car using free solar photons to stimulate the electrons in its solar cells.
No, the real story here is the cells themselves, or at least what they can become, since it appears that Volvo and its partner LA-based Synthesis Design + Architecture, which won the "Switch to Pure Volvo" design competition, appear still to be working out the actual solar-electric part of the design.
Like any successful carmaker , Volvo is always looking for ways to keep the public engaged in its brand, which traditionally has been to emphasize the safety of its vehicles. With the debut of the C30 battery electric prototype and the limited, but very successful commercial production of the V60 Plug-In electric hybrid, coming up with a nifty way to solar charge its electric cars, independent of the power grid or solar home charging, seems like a logical next step.
However, typical silicon-based solar panels are bulky and heavy and need some sort of equally beefy support structure, not to mention inverters to convert a solar panel's DC power to AC, which is then converted back to DC to charge the battery. You could squeeze a few panels, etc. into the boot of the car, but the idea would be totally impractical.
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Originally published: 24 Jul 2013
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