I was looking at the roof rack I'm not using (I don't cycle or camp) and thinking, what could I do with a solar panel up there? I'm sure this has been hashed over with Prius/Volt/etc fans, but let's consider ...
- Eyeballing it looks approximately the size of a normal house solar panel, assume so
- My 20% efficient LG panels produce about 2kWh during a good summer day. Naturally orientation plays a big role, but assume this for the moment
- Plenty of inverter choices, from 12VDC (many) to 240VAC (e.g. Enphase - with a frequency source and controller, not the right application of an Enphase inverter but you get the idea)
- 2kWh can be stored in two lithium batteries the size of the Bolt 12V battery, or just two SLA
- People seem to get 3-4 mpkWh, so 2kWh will give say 8 miles range.
- About a 3% range boost, good in an emergency, but otherwise not too useful
- However continuing the thought, one could consider a design where the whole package is external, with the batteries and electronics stored under the panel. EVSE's are dirt simple, you could pull out a cable and charge up your car an extra 8 miles potentially off your panel.
- Perhaps a better use case is 12V in the cabin - say cabin conditioning? Cooling it during the summer and heating during the winter (depends on the region, but a relatively clear winter day will still generate about 1kWh
- Or for the camping fans (who might want a cargo carrier up there anyhow) maybe a way to get a few kWh without hitting the battery