The roof solar panel announced by Elon Musk that is believed to be a fraud by many people now has new development from the latest patent obtained by Tesla, though the emphasis of the patent lies on how the trailer opens up and stores the solar panels, instead of the solar panel itself.
The US Patent and Trademark Office announced a Tesla patent called “integrated rollable sheet for automobiles”, which automatically retracts and stores the sheet at the trailer of the Cybertruck to the bottom of the vehicle using the electric motor. Tesla also commented on how this device can be used for solar batteries at the same time.
Pickups with an open cargo area are favored by US owners thanks to the ability of carrying large goods, though many owners would also purchase various forms of cover in order to provide a shelter, and one of the most popular variations is roller blind, which is a rollable soft cover that can be stored within the trailer and opened during rainy weather.
▲Patent schematic for the sheet of Cybertruck（Source：scribd）
Tesla mentioned during its announcement of the electric truck Cybertruck that the rooftop of the vehicle can be transformed into solar panels to charge for the vehicle; from this announcement, we now know how the engineers at Tesla are going to realize it after the exposure of the patent.
Designers first set the thickness of the roller blind according to the dimension of the solar battery, and the chain sheet is rolled up from the electric motor at the chassis in front of the rear wheel. The sheet can also be rolled in a reverse manner to provide a shelter at the trailer section.
The entire process is automated without the need of manual assistance. Paired with the remote control function of Tesla, users are able to close and open this sheet through voice recognition, central control display, and the smartphone App.
Tesla also mentioned that the rollable sheet design can be collocated with solar batteries to become a charging device for the vehicle. According to what Musk claimed before, the solar sheet should become a new add on, and users are free to go for the ordinary metal plate instead of the solar panel option.
Assuming that this sheet is approximately 2㎡ since the dimension of Cybertruck is yet to be confirmed, and that the efficiency of the solar battery is 20%, the power generation will be roughly 3.2 kWh after 8 hours of sun exposure, which is about 15km of driving range.
This level of power generation is obviously not enough under a prosperous society, though it is rather precious when a vehicle is able to provide pass power storage and active power generation under climate weather. An increase in the coefficient of efficiency would generate a significant power output.
Nonetheless, the installation of solar panels on the roof of automobiles is not really a new concept, though it is the first time that it is applied on mass production vehicles. The availability of solar sheet from Tesla is bound to generate a sensation in the market. As for subsequent maintenance and repair, users will have to inquire the official manufacturer.
(Cover photo source: Tesla)