Imagine that you park your electric car, push a button, and it is covered by a solar cover that charges the battery, and also protects the car in the parking lot. This project was invented and embodied by the founders of the French startup Armor.
The team has designed a retractable automotive solar cover that can be deployed on after parking. It consists of fabric and an array of flexible solar panels located in the form of three strips along the entire length of the cover. It incorporates a new photovoltaic material, called ASCA. They have high resistance to deformation – according to the developers, the film can be folded at least 50,000 times without loss of efficiency.
The total area of solar panels is four square meters. The solar cover is mounted on two load-bearing slings connected to both bumpers. After parking, the slings can pull the tent out of the rear bumper and pull it quickly enough onto the entire machine. It can be easily rolled out and back again without human intervention.
Its initial prototype is deployed on a Gazelle electric car, but it said that the cover could be used on any kind of electric vehicle. Gazelle electric car has a cruising range of 180 km at only 4 hours charging using the domestic power supply. The retractable photovoltaic protective cover provides supplementary power to the vehicle and increases its range (up to an additional 15km per day with a target of 30km per day within three years, based on 8 hours’ outside exposure of the vehicle per day).
Another advantage is light weight. It is approximately 30 times lighter (450 g/ m-sq) than those used in other photovoltaic technologies. This makes it easy to apply it to the fabric lining or even to the car itself – on the panoramic roof, side windows, or sun visors.
An example of the practical application of this cover is presented in a video that shows the system implemented on the Gazelle electric car.