Solar Powered Vehicles on the Horizon
It's no surprise that transportation vehicles are serious polluters. While brands like Tesla are making clean energy cars more accessible to the general public, more work needs to be done to eliminate fossil fuel dependency. An energy company located in Rhode Island called eNow is taking steps to utilize solar to power vehicles.
eNow has created eighth-inch thick solar panels covered in Teflon that can be installed on the roof of a vehicle. This then connects to a battery to run the vehicle's internal appliances such as air conditioning. This set up has an interface to monitor incoming and outgoing energy.
It appears these panels have been created for larger vehicles like box trucks and semis to reduce engine idling. Their viability is being tested for refrigerated trucks. Secondary energy is needed to drive the vehicles, but the return on investment could come in less than one year. eNow is aiming to supply the trucks with 40% solar power, decreasing gas and diesel usage.
Weather does affect the energy generation. According to the operating interface in one of the vehicles in one particular instance, the panels can harvest 60 amps under direct sun but may dip to 16 amps in the shade.
Source: 89.3 WFPL