EV Solar Charging Out And About With GoSun

While electric cars with integrated solar panels are probably still some way off, this bolt-on gadget will offer EV charging wherever you park your vehicle (in the sun).

A few EV manufacturers have attempted or are attempting to bring mass-produced electric vehicles with integrated solar panels to market, and I’m not aware of any that have succeeded so far. For example, Sono Motors ditched its Sion solar car rollout not long before it was due to commence production. Dutch solar EV manufacturer Lightyear was declared insolvent at the beginning of last year, and while it subsequently emerged from that, the future of its Lightyear 2 model isn’t clear.

Producing a mass market solar EV isn’t an easy task. There are engineering, economic and other reasons why solar cells aren’t a standard inclusion on electric cars (yet). But US company GoSun is gearing up to manufacture the next best(?) thing.

A Stowable Solar EV Charger

GoSun’s EV Solar Charger is stowed on your car – on the roof. When closed, the unit can output 200 Watts. This may interest you : 5 Superb Advantages Of Solar Energy In New York State. But it can’t charge your vehicle while you’re driving of course as it needs to be plugged into an EV’s charging port. Fully opened, it boasts 1.2kW capacity.

The company claims it can provide up to around 45 kilometres a day range (average of 16-32 kilometres) through solar self-charging depending on the vehicle. 45 kilometres would require an estimated 7 hours of that day parked in full sunshine in mild temperatures based on some really rough back-of-virtual-envelope calculations.

GoSun says the 32kg unit can be installed on vehicle’s roof rack in 20 minutes with two people. Closed, it measures 119 x 122 x 13 cm and fully opened, 622 cm long. Having anything on your roof creates extra drag, but the company says its streamlined profile reduces this. But given the device is something you probably don’t want to be installing and removing regularly, no doubt the drag and weight would have a noticeable impact on overall performance.

I was wondering how this solar charger would cope with a stiff breeze as it looks like it could flap around when fully opened, which could also impact a vehicle’s paintwork. GoSun says it will withstand speeds up to 160 kilometres per hour when closed and winds up to around 48 kph when fully extended.

The charger also has a lithium iron phosphate battery – capacity not mentioned – to buffer solar intermittency; for example, when clouds briefly block out the sun.

The unit is lockable to thwart thieves, but I wouldn’t be too keen to unfurl this in some places. I imagine it wouldn’t last too long – the anti-theft features won’t protect it from malicious damage and this would be a magnet for anti-EV miscreants and other assorted idiots.

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How Much Does The GoSun EV Solar Charger Cost?

GoSun is taking USD $100 fully-refundable deposits for the fold-out solar charger, with production expected next year. To see also : Guide To Solar Energy Grants for Businesses. The price for early bird purchasers is an *estimated* USD $2,999, which at current exchange rates is around AUD $4,500; then add to that shipping and any relevant taxes. Ouch.

It could be a handy, albeit expensive, charging and power solution for camping and off-grid living; particularly if your EV has V2L capabilities. However, GoSun says it also has AC, 12V DC and USB outputs in its power bank; but the AC output is 110V (up to 15A).

Looking for or learning about electric vehicle charging solutions? Discover everything you need to know about choosing an EV charger.

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