I’ve read a few articles recently that talk about how great plug-in hybrid cars will be. I can understand why adding electricity from a green source to your car would be a good thing, but I’m a little confused though when I read something like this:
Perhaps in the future, automobile manufacturers could even incorporate solar panels into the roofs of hybrids to provide constant battery charging, which some concept hybrids have already done. Until then, home-owners, solar-roofed parking structures, and portable solar panels could still offer consumers new possibilities and very futuristic accessories.
It seems odd to me that installing solar panels on a car’s roof isn’t easier and quicker to implement than putting together all of the infrastructure for a plug-in car (not to mention that even if you had that infrastructure people would still need to take the step of plugging in their cars all of the time, but a car with solar panels would power itself up without any extra help).
There seem to be some DIY solutions for adding solar panels to a hybrid car. I looked around and found a product from Solatec, although the product page says that their solar kit is temporarily unavailable. Maybe they’ve just sold out or maybe they stopped selling them since it might not work that well? I’d be curious to find out more if anyone is familiar with this.
Update: I just read an article in the New York Times about flexible and semitransparent solar cells that are in development. It mentions that “automotive companies [are] interested in the new cells for car roofs”, although it doesn’t offer any more information about why they are interested or how the cells would be used.