Review and Analysis of Electrified Vehicles with Solar Photovoltaic Panels

Paper #:
  • 2018-01-0426

Published:
  • 2018-04-03
Abstract:
Environmental concerns and high-energy demands in cars are leading to major development in sustainable automotive technologies, not the least of which is the utilization of clean energy sources. The use of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels as an auxiliary energy source of on-board fuel in electrified, plug-in hybrid and full hybrid electric vehicles has not been heavily investigated or implemented by automotive OEMs. Despite the fact some automakers offer to have a solar option on their vehicles, utilization of the vehicles’ surface to install solar cells has not been a focus of attention by automakers. This is likely due to the potential benefits and applications of solar modules on electrified vehicles not being well understood, in addition to high installation and tooling costs coupled with complexity of implementing solar modules on-board vehicles. The objective of this paper is to address these concerns by providing a comprehensive investigation of the opportunities and applications of on-board solar panels, as well as the challenges and market outlook that makes it a more economic and effective solution. This study presents an overview of different solar photovoltaic panel types available on the market and highlights the most promising PV technology for cars. Then, this work presents the main solar potential drivers in the market such as available credit menu values from regulations such as United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European Commission. Other main opportunities are discussed, such as enhanced fuel economy on driving cycles or extended driving ranges. Here, different driving scenarios are analyzed to represent the driving conditions in different geographical locations and time of year. Followed by that, various solar applications are studied, such as integration with the traction high voltage (HV) battery. Also included were different design implementations with the purpose of minimizing the losses and optimizing vehicle wakeup modes. Other applications such as charging the low voltage battery and active vent ventilation are also presented. Two novel applications – power to the box concept, and using solar to cool and heat the HV battery in extreme temperature environments – are also presented. Finally, the paper analyzes the current challenges, which prevent the mass production of electrified vehicles with solar panels as an option, such as limited vehicle surface area, vehicle contours, low solar power, and investment cost. Followed are recommendations to overcome these challenges and market outlook
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