With the growing introduction of electric vehicles, the interest in improving autonomy through additional solar power sources is increasing.
A large proportion of the vehicle population is in fact either mobile or stationary, in full sunlight for most of the day.
This application of solar energy, known as VIPV for "Vehicle Integrated PhotoVoltaics", is currently being studied by many industrial and research teams, particularly in terms of manufacturing processes and integration of photovoltaics into the vehicle bodywork, as well as the measurement of achievable performance.
Studies covering the entire recharging chain (from solar production to its use in vehicle consumption) are less common.
The objective of our teams with this area of research is triple:
- To increase the vehicle's autonomy
- To partially relieve the network during recharging
- Improve user comfort by reducing the frequency of recharging
- To reduce the CO2 impact of the vehicle over its entire life.
According to our calculations, such a kit could increase the range of the demonstrator vehicle by 800 km per year** and reduce the frequency of recharging by 14%, which is not to be underestimated for many uses. By way of illustration - in France and according to the 2019 Personal Mobility Survey of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion *** - 35.7% of home-to-work journeys are less than 5 km away (i.e. 10 km round trip).
The system must be easy to install and remove, and be compatible with any type of rechargeable vehicle. It should eventually supply the vehicle's traction battery directly, with minimal losses between the solar production and the energy stored in the battery. These subsequent stages, necessary for the evolution of the kit, will have to be developed with the relevant manufacturers.