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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Looks like solar bed covers will be here soon and good enough to cover some daily commutes:

“The TerraVis solar tonneau cover system consists of four monocrystalline foldable solar panels that have an output of approximately 1kW.

The system should be able to add 12 to 15 miles (20 to 24 km) of range to an electric pickup truck, which is 30% of the power needed for the average daily commute under optimal conditions.

The company has already forged original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supply partnerships with two EV Truck nameplates, one of which is in partnership with Nissan.

The TerraVis system is expected to cost less than 5% of the overall cost of a pickup truck.”
Source and video— https://www.google.com/amp/s/financ...orksports-bed-covers-charge-ev-123005317.html

For a guesstimated $3,500, would you purchase this over the $10,000 max battery pack, assuming it was offered and available? Why or why not? (Get both, right…lol)
 

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"The system should be able to add 12 to 15 miles (20 to 24 km) of range to an electric pickup truck, which is 30% of the power needed for the average daily commute under optimal conditions. "

I'm no engineering genius, but WTF??? Under what conditions? Full direct sunlight? This seems like a nice idea with a million caveats. A stationary house with a roof full of solar panels doesn't get 100% efficiency all day, even under "optimal conditions." Nice idea on paper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
"The system should be able to add 12 to 15 miles (20 to 24 km) of range to an electric pickup truck, which is 30% of the power needed for the average daily commute under optimal conditions. "

I'm no engineering genius, but WTF??? Under what conditions? Full direct sunlight? This seems like a nice idea with a million caveats. A stationary house with a roof full of solar panels doesn't get 100% efficiency all day, even under "optimal conditions." Nice idea on paper.
No product data sheets on-line to give specifics but the company is touting VERY efficient 22% panels and available later this year. Solar tonneau cover charges electric pickups, provides portable power

For a lifestyle brand like the R1T, it is not a bad idea if you are traveling off grid camping for a few days parked either…. Might ensure you get to the next Rivian State Park Charger especially if you are camping in cold weather?
 

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It's not a bad idea, but of course the bed on the R1T is small so you're going to be limited with how many panels you can really fit there. And that 12-15 miles is over the course of a full day...which is probably also equal to the margin of error of the battery meter. Seems like a lot of money for not a lot of benefit.
 

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Some good insight can be cleaned from guys already using solar on top of their trucks (instead of on top of the bed on their trucks): Show me your solar set up
Here's a more honest perspective:


"Koji Toyoshima, Toyota’s chief engineer for the Prius plug-in, says that the solar panel will increase car’s efficiency by up to 10 percent. In good conditions, the panel will likely add about 2.2 miles of electric range to the vehicle throughout the day. Even that seems extremely optimistic as have Toyota’s electric estimates in the past."
 

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Totally agree. Seriously, you can easily add 15 miles of range just by driving less aggressive or reducing your highway speed by 5 mph. The only way I see this be useful is to charge other things at the camping site.

PS: Actually I thought about one good use case. You use your truck for commuting and don't have access to a charger at home. So instead of having to stop every week at a charging station to charge your car you can stop every other week or so. It seems a good reason to buy it. Although if I didn't have access to charging at home or work I would never buy an EV.

It's not a bad idea, but of course the bed on the R1T is small so you're going to be limited with how many panels you can really fit there. And that 12-15 miles is over the course of a full day...which is probably also equal to the margin of error of the battery meter. Seems like a lot of money for not a lot of benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Seems like these solar tonneau covers might be better suited as trickle chargers for vehicles sitting around a lot and not hooked up all the time to EVSEs.
Or, you could use the air shocks to pump up the frontend on top of a set of jacks at a 35-degree angle, deflate the backend and let the air out of the tires while pointing the vehicle due south to maximize the solar efficiency! 😉
 

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Really? Whats that comment supposed to mean?
It means that it's from an engineer at an established firm with accountability. This product sounds like a Kickstarter pitch where they balance out their premise with vague language "should be able to" and "under ideal conditions."

Case in point: one of our children was very colicky as an infant. We bought every product that promised a solution including what was effectively a 99-cent bottle marked up to $14.95 that had a 45-degree bend at the nipple end so no air could collect at the nipple. The packaging made it sound like this was a breakthrough in feeding technology and we were desperate enough to try anything. It was of no benefit whatsoever. Did the seller believe it was helpful? Probably. This is the 2021 version. Under ideal testing (stationary vehicle in full sunlight) the product likely delivers close to what is promised. Under real-world use undoubtedly much less, but it "looks" like it will deliver and people will buy into it.
 

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The only real benefit I see to portable solar is if you are going backcountry camping for several days/weeks where the truck will be sitting. And if that were the case, I’d be more inclined to buy a standalone portable solar system vs a tonneau since you can control the panel angle and likely get better output.
 

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As for Toyota, thats an interesting perspective - and surprising. I wonder if Toyota is feeling caught behind on pure EV innovation: Toyota’s Chief Says Electric Vehicles Are Overhyped.
The figures speak for themselves. At 1.8% of all US vehicle sales in 2020, he's not wrong. Just read the bi*ching on the posts here. EVs are not ready for broad adoption. The flip side of that is that without the enthusiasm of early adopters the other manufacturers would be similarly cautious. I'm ready to jump in now but with the caveat that it will likely be our 3rd car (in a household of 2 drivers). For the average person, the urban apartment-dweller or suburban family with 2.7 kids and a van it's an expensive endeavor with a lack of reassuring infrastructure.

The UK and parts of Europe are starting to provide curbside chargers (for people who park on the streets) and have a number of charging stations in many carparks. Until we get that level of charging support in place these are just overpriced novelty items for many (if not all)buyers.
 

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I saw this as well and was intrigued. I think it's a neat idea, but, as folks have laid out, the usefullness would be limited to "not when you are driving", but rather to get a free trickle charge when the truck is sitting somewhere (trail head, camping, at the airport, parked in your driveway, etc...).

I'd think camping or long haul parking (if you can get one in the sunshine) would be nice, or for those folks that either don't have easy access to home/work charging it maybe handy.

The only real benefit I see to portable solar is if you are going backcountry camping for several days/weeks where the truck will be sitting. And if that were the case, I’d be more inclined to buy a standalone portable solar system vs a tonneau since you can control the panel angle and likely get better output.
I'm actually more inclined to use the Tonneau in this case, and not a stand alone. Room/space is a factor for me when camping, plus... there is no way I'm setting up a portable solar system and then walking away from my truck at the trailhead or camping.
 

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Looks like solar bed covers will be here soon and good enough to cover some daily commutes:

“The TerraVis solar tonneau cover system consists of four monocrystalline foldable solar panels that have an output of approximately 1kW.

The system should be able to add 12 to 15 miles (20 to 24 km) of range to an electric pickup truck, which is 30% of the power needed for the average daily commute under optimal conditions.

The company has already forged original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supply partnerships with two EV Truck nameplates, one of which is in partnership with Nissan.

The TerraVis system is expected to cost less than 5% of the overall cost of a pickup truck.”
Source and video— https://www.google.com/amp/s/financ...orksports-bed-covers-charge-ev-123005317.html

For a guesstimated $3,500, would you purchase this over the $10,000 max battery pack, assuming it was offered and available? Why or why not? (Get both, right…lol)
It would be a very smart way to get more range for the R1T to have a solar roof when parked in the day like at a workplace could charge the battery some, I’m sure someone there smarter than me has already thought of the reasons not to design a solar roof.
Maybe the sealing of the edges caused too much of a headache early on in the design phase, afraid of leaking when raining.
 
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