why don't electric cars have solar panels

Why don’t electric cars have solar panels

Every year, an increasing number of people in the United States acquire electric automobiles. While electric vehicles may be charged at home or at a variety of charging stations, many people are perplexed as to why these vehicles lack solar panels. Installing solar panels on residences makes sense, but does it make sense to put solar panels on cars? The following guide investigates some of the primary reasons why electric vehicles do not have rooftop solar panels.

Solar panels generate electricity by converting sunlight’s energy. Modern solar panels are extremely efficient, with many of them capable of converting more than 60% of the sun’s energy into electricity. They do, however, have some serious drawbacks.

With direct sunlight, a 10 square foot solar panel may produce roughly 50 watts. This is the equivalent of one light bulb. Because most automobiles only have 10 to 25 square feet of roof area, the greatest amount of power they can create is 50 to 150 watts.

For instance, while parked at home, the majority of electric cars utilize a 240-volt outlet. These 240-volt outlets may supply around 30 miles of range per hour of charging. A car would only be able to travel one to three miles for every hour it was charged with solar electricity.

This means that for a 300-mile-range electric car, it would take around 90 hours of direct sunshine to fully charge the battery. For many automobiles, this is impracticable.

Some electric car makers, however, are employing solar power in some of their vehicles. For some types of electric vehicles, such as Tesla, solar charging facilities are becoming increasingly widespread. A series of very big batteries are charged using a number of solar panels. Individual automobiles are then charged using these batteries. Unfortunately, a basic charging station that can service 12 automobiles requires approximately 10,000 square feet of solar panels.

Solar panels are already installed on the roofs of certain automobiles, but they only produce enough power to run a portion of the vehicle’s components. Some vehicles, for example, have a small solar panel on the roof to ensure that the engine’s starter motor is charged. In some circumstances, a small solar panel may be used to power a small fan that helps keep a vehicle’s inside cool on hot days. These solar panels aren’t powerful enough to power a whole car. They’ve only been utilized to power a few components so far.

While solar panels on the roof of a car will never be able to fully charge a battery, solar electricity from other sources is an excellent method to fuel electric vehicles. As the cost of solar panels and batteries continues to fall, more companies will likely provide solar charging stations for electric vehicles.

Have There Been Cars That Used Solar Panels in Their Design?

Several automobile manufacturers are continuing to produce electric vehicles with solar panels integrated into the design. However, these automobiles do not run solely on solar power since there is insufficient electricity to maintain the vehicle.

Sion from Sono Motors

This electric vehicle is outfitted with 248 solar cells. There is also a charging port because it cannot be charged entirely by sunlight. On a completely charged battery, this vehicle can go around 190 miles (350 kilometers). It costs roughly $30,000. This is one of the most economical electric car possibilities.

Lightyear One

This vehicle has a 450-mile range on a single charge. The company website claims that this automobile can travel for months without being recharged, however it only gets 7.5 miles in one hour of solar charging. This vehicle costs a whopping $135,000. This vehicle has not yet been unveiled, but it will be available towards the end of 2021.

Toyota bZ4X

This is still a concept vehicle for Toyota, but it might be available in stores very soon. This vehicle will cost roughly $40,000. Its range is expected to be between 250 and 300 kilometers on a single charge. Because this is a concept vehicle, there is still plenty to learn about it.

Other electric vehicles are beginning to use solar panels, but they are not yet far enough along in development to be included on this list. These three vehicles are all excellent alternatives, but they demonstrate that automobiles cannot operate only on solar electricity.

With the example of all of these automobiles, we can see that solar charging is inefficient for charging a whole car. They must still incorporate charging connections because the solar charge option is inefficient for quick charging.

Is there anything other than solar panels that can provide energy for electric vehicles?

Many individuals have theorized on the many types of charges capable of powering automobiles. We’ve previously discussed solar panels, but alternative charges that others have considered include generators, wind turbines, and the standard charger.

The regular charger is still the best option for charging your electric automobile. There is currently insufficient technology to make solar or wind energy efficient enough to power an automobile on its own. Although research is being conducted to enhance this technology, it may be some years before major automobile manufacturers begin to include various energy alternatives into their vehicles.

Many charging stations rely on solar electricity to give customers extra charging power. Because there is more surface area to catch the sunshine, it is simpler for the solar panels at the stations to collect enough electricity to charge the automobiles. Wind turbine-powered charging stations are being developed at the moment.


When it comes to solar on electric vehicles in other countries, the dam looks to be breaking, with several new manufacturers stating their vehicles will be able to have it. This is great news for states with a lot of sunshine and a lot of outdoor parking spaces, because it will allow them to be put to good use.

Unfortunately, many of these new models will take time to reach the market, but in the next years, acquiring an EV with a solar roof will no longer be a near-impossibility.