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The prototype prefigures a non-intrusive solution that is compatible with any rechargeable vehicle, and includes a conformable photovoltaic panel, a battery and an electronic interface. It should in the longer term enable the vehicle to be partially recharged directly from the sun. 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. Future data collection over several months and several vehicles will make it possible to precisely quantify the contribution in solar kilometres, which is estimated by our researchers at 800 additional kilometres of autonomy** per year. The aim of this demonstration is to stimulate the interest of manufacturers in the sector to move towards an integrated and optimized solution to power the main vehicle battery.
With the growing introduction of electric vehicles, the interest in improving autonomy through additional solar power sources is increasing. A large proportion of the vehicle population is in fact either mobile or stationary, in full sunlight for most of the day. This application of solar energy, known as VIPV for "Vehicle Integrated PhotoVoltaics", is currently being studied by many industrial and research teams, particularly in terms of manufacturing processes and integration of photovoltaics into the vehicle bodywork, as well as the measurement of achievable performance. Studies covering the entire recharging chain (from solar production to its use in vehicle consumption) are less common.
The objective of our teams with this area of research is triple:
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. 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 (i.e. 10 km round trip).
The system must be easy to install and remove, and be compatible with any type of rechargeable vehicle. It should eventually supply the vehicle's traction battery directly, with minimal losses between the solar production and the energy stored in the battery. These subsequent stages, necessary for the evolution of the kit, will have to be developed with the relevant manufacturers.
Launched in 2019, INES.2S is an Institute for Energy Transition (ITE). Led by the CEA at INES, its mission is to develop an industrial sector for the integration of photovoltaic solar energy in France, in support of the French Multiannual Energy Programming Act. The ITE INES.2S is co-financed by the French government under the Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir (ANR-10-IEED-0014-01).
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.