The new energy technologies and nanomaterials (Liten) branch of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission has developed a vehicle-integrated photovoltaic (VIPV) prototype kit that can be used with any rechargeable electric vehicle.
The kit is intended to be deployed on a vehicle's roof and supply the vehicle's traction battery directly.
“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,” the scientists said. “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.”
The prototype kit consists of a 145 W photovoltaic panel, a magnetic rear panel and an MPPT charge controller. It also includes a battery and a micro-inverter that can now be used to inject the stored energy into the grid when the vehicle is recharged. “Tested on a Renault Zoé model, the remote data feedback shows the possible gain up to 4 kilometres per day when the days are very sunny,” the research institute said.
Liten expects to develop the VIPV technology with the support of unspecified relevant manufacturers. “At this stage of development, the kit does not allow the main battery to be powered directly, which is its ultimate objective,” it stated. “The system is non-intrusive to the vehicle so it can be adapted to all rechargeable models.”
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