Informatietype:
Project
Thema:
Solar powered cars
Renewable electricity
Integrated solar and safety
Unit:
Energy & Materials Transition

Solar potential on electric vehicles within Europe

Status project

2023-2026

In cooperation with

Fraunhofer ISE, Sono Motors, IM Efficiency and Lightyear Layer

In the foreseeable future, the majority of vehicles on European roads will be electric, which will increase the stress on the electricity grid. Since the beginning of 2023 a European consortium of experts has been investigating to what extent the expansion of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics would affect the electric power demand of an electrified vehicle fleet.

Participating in the consortium are the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, and three solar technology suppliers for vehicles: Sono Motors, IM Efficiency, and Lightyear Layer. The SolarMoves project, commissioned by the Department for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) of the European Commission, aims to quantitatively assess solar electricity generation on vehicle bodies and its impact on the future charging infrastructure in Europe.

SolarMoves starts monitoring campaign

After a first year, in which extensive models have been built to predict the impact of vehicle integrated PV (VIPV) on the required charging infrastructure for electrical vehicles in Europe, now a measurement campaign has started to validate these models. As part of the project, various types of vehicles (including passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses) that drive throughout Europe have been equipped with mobile irradiance sensors to measure the amount of sunlight on the vehicle. For a few of these vehicles, a detailed monitoring of the entire electrical energy flow within the vehicle will take place to obtain a better understanding of the charging needs of electrical vehicles.

"The results of this one year monitoring campaign will give us insight in the electric efficiency improvement of electric vehicles through the use of integrated photovoltaics," said Wim Soppe, Senior Scientist at TNO and SolarMoves project leader. "The aim is to determine the total potential of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics and to be able to make realistic predictions about the charging infrastructure required, for the case when a significant share of electric vehicles are equipped with solar panels in the near future." The results will ultimately be used to derive a number of policy recommendations for the European Commission.

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"The aim is to determine the total potential of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics and to be able to make realistic predictions about the charging infrastructure required, for the case when a significant share of electric vehicles are equipped with solar panels in the near future."

Wim Soppe

Senior Scientist

Built on a German monitoring campaign

From 2019 to 2023, Fraunhofer ISE investigated the solar potential of German traffic routes in the PV2Go project. In PV2Go, these sensors were installed on 57 cars and 5 trucks belonging to a logistics company as part of a citizen science campaign. The scientists collected and evaluated more than 46 million data points over 460,000 kilometres in the course of a year. Their data analyses showed that the solar energy losses due to shading in a vehicle with roof-integrated photovoltaics and average driving behaviour is around 35 percent.

"Taking these losses into account, electric cars with roof-integrated photovoltaics would generate around 460 kilowatt hours of electricity per year," explained Christian Schill, project manager of PV2GO at Fraunhofer ISE. "With a consumption of 15 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometres, an electric car would gain around 3000 kilometres of range per year."

In the SolarMoves project, the consortium will find out to what extent the results from Germany can be transferred to the EU region.

Header image: IM Efficiency

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Growing market

Electric vehicles with solar panels may represent 10% of the entire market in 2030. Several cars with solar cells are in development. Furthermore, already more than 30 truck trailers are driving through Europe, with solar cells on its trailer roof, making commercial transport more sustainable by using solar energy. Next to that, inner-city public transport fleets are already equipped with solar cells to reduce emissions and fuel costs.

Read more about the start of SolarMoves.

Explore the SolarMoves brochure

Get inspired

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