Solar Power on the Go
With so many people adopting solar as a way to power or supplement the energy used in their homes, many are starting to wonder if solar-powered cars aren’t right around the corner. Well, they are. And though they may not be ready to release to the consumer market just yet, the future is looking very good for solar-powered or solar power supplemented vehicles appearing sometime well before we run out of fossil fuels.
But what if you can’t wait that long? What if you want to start using solar power in your car now? Furthermore, even if you can’t power the whole car with solar just yet, couldn’t you at least attach solar panels to your car so that you could recharge your laptop or your smart phone, or run your stereo system?
The answer to that question is yes. Solar power can be generated and used within the confines of your car to do many useful things, no matter how far you might be from the grid.
Not Your (Grand)father’s Solar Panels
Back in the 1970s, when solar power was just taking shape beyond the concept stage, early solar systems utilized vast arrays of big clunky solar panels made up of thick, heavy, solar cells. These panels are not the type of thing that you’d want to bolt to the roof of your car for obvious esthetic and aerodynamic reasons.
Luckily, we are getting closer and closer to having light, flexible, mat-like solar panels that would not only conform to the top of your car, but can be attached and removed using magnets to improve the aerodynamics of your car when on the road.
What’s Currently Available
Let’s say that you only wanted to be able to recharge your cell phone, while working on your laptop and running a fan while you were in your vehicle far from the grid. Good news! There are affordable small panel solar power systems that charge portable batteries that you can then use to recharge or run pretty much any light duty electric device that you have with you.
These panels could be bolted to the top of a car and can also be attached, as mentioned above, with magnets. Though driving the car with solar panels attached by magnets may not be advisable.
The Future of Solar and Cars
The future is coming, and in it, we will most likely be able to drive cars that are completely solar powered. This will be achieved by a solar skin that looks and feels about like a contemporary car paint job does. In fact, technologies are in the works to make photovoltaic paint a reality in the foreseeable future.
For now, you’ll have to make do with mat-like temporary solar panels for your devices. Though soon, you can have it all.