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It's doubtful, but was curious if anyone's heard of any solar power attachments that could potentially store some power or build power as you're driving that can sustain a drive past the normal limits without having to stop for charging. I was thinking about it today that it would be really neat if their was an attachment, specifically for the R1T, that could fit the molds of the bed racks with an attachment to the power box in the bed.

I think that would be pretty awesome if there was something that could give an extra 50-100 miles of range - I know I'd pay for that attachment. Any thoughts or anyone hear rumblings about anything like that?
 

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Welcome @braincontrol365.
There is a solar tonneau cover, but as someone rightfully pointed out to me in another thread, the best solar panels on the market today operating in the sunniest locations will only get you about 1kw per sq foot. That's nowhere near enough to be useful as a range extender.
Very true. I think on average it works out to be an additional 12-15 miles of range.

What range would get you guys to seriously consider a solar tonneau cover?
Because I was thinking at least 50 to make it worth while.
 

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Welcome @braincontrol365.

Very true. I think on average it works out to be an additional 12-15 miles of range.

What range would get you guys to seriously consider a solar tonneau cover?
Because I was thinking at least 50 to make it worth while.
Depending on the cost. If you tell me that $500 would give those 15 extra miles, I will take it. Those 15 miles might take you to the nearest power outlet and save the day. More than that, it's a no-go.
 

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You're right about that @thrill. Most solar panels are around 20% efficient at converting sunlight to energy. It makes more sense to put them on your home and use it to offset the electric bill. There are some light weight flexible solar modules that could be used as a trickle charger while camping. Tesla is in the business of making solar panels, but Elon has said it doesn't make sense to use them on EV's.

Lightyear One claims they can add 43 miles of range per day with 5 square meters of solar cells built into the body. Technology — Lightyear One — Ultra Efficient Solar Car
 

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It wouldn’t be solar powered, but Rivian has applied for some patents that would support a “Jerry can” battery. Kinda like an external battery extender for your phone only on a much larger scale. Weight, cost and how you’d store/load/connect such a thing are all major hurdles they’d need to solve for.
 

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Thanks for all the replies. I'll trust all your math on it and suspect that it's not a cost effective option to look at. Shame though - that would be pretty awesome.
i think it’s really for off grid camping and the like rather thsn range extending. That plus a few extra panels you carry along and you can have a very sustainable off grid plus trickle charger. Go camping in the right spot for a few days and you’ll have a decent charge to get back.
 

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It seems like if you had solar panels that were the size of the entire bed of the truck, that it would be charging the battery even if you're not using it. If I'm driving to work 50 miles a day, and my truck is just sitting in the parking lot for 8 to 10 hours, that would be a substantial amount of charge while it's just sitting there.
 

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It seems like if you had solar panels that were the size of the entire bed of the truck, that it would be charging the battery even if you're not using it. If I'm driving to work 50 miles a day, and my truck is just sitting in the parking lot for 8 to 10 hours, that would be a substantial amount of charge while it's just sitting there.
Depends on what you consider substantial. Under ideal conditions (e.g. perpendicular to the sun) a 20% efficient panel will produce 18.6w of energy per square foot. The tonneau cover is approximately 19 square feet, so that gets you about 353W. If (and it's a huge IF) you got ideal conditions for 8 hours that'd generate 2.8kWh of energy, not considering conversion losses. I have an 8kW system on the roof of my house and I don't think it's ever produced even 7kW in the brightest, Denver sun. Here's what the power curve looked like from yesterday.
Azure Rectangle Slope Font Plot

Far from optimal.
The reality is that with a tonneau sized system you'll likely generate well under 1kW over the typical day, so likely less than 3 miles of added range.
 

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It's doubtful, but was curious if anyone's heard of any solar power attachments that could potentially store some power or build power as you're driving that can sustain a drive past the normal limits without having to stop for charging.
I wonder if you put two of these sets on top of the tonneau cover if that would work. 1kW per hour in the sun. 8kWh, 15-20 miles a day?
 

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Under ideal conditions (e.g. perpendicular to the sun) a 20% efficient panel will produce 18.6w of energy per square foot.
Exactly.

Let's say you're in an RV park. Not that you'd want to be there but that's where you are. They have a NEMA 14-50 outlet for you to use for free. You will charge at about 6kW going into the battery.

How many square feet of solar panels would you need to get that charging rate? 6000W / 20W/sqft = 300 sqft.
That's bigger than the nominal 5kW system I have on my roof. Oh and by the way, that's the maximum rate. The typical summer curve looks just like @jmbach 's:

Water Rectangle Slope Gesture Font


That rightmost peak, today, translates to 34kWh over the course of the day. Not bad. But also almost at summer solstice, longer hours and higher sun than average.

EVs, especially thirsty ones like the R1s, just don't have enough real estate, either on the body of the car or able to carry as separate units, for solar panels to make much of a difference in 99.9 percent of use cases.
 

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I wonder if you put two of these sets on top of the tonneau cover if that would work. 1kW per hour in the sun. 8kWh, 15-20 miles a day?
Is that the right link? Each of those is 100W. Two means 200W. You only get the full output when the panel is perpendicular to the sun. That basically never happens - the sun is always moving, and always going to be at an angle, and most of the time will be at a pretty large angle because the sun moves a LOT (see the above curve - you approach the max power only for a small slice of the day...). A rule of thumb for solar systems is you can get about 5x the max rating in a day - so count on a 200W system to generate about 1kWh on average in 1 day. (Not in 1 hour!). This rule of thumb is only an average - you'll get more in the summer, less in the winter, more if you have full exposure the entire day, less if it's cloudy or partially shaded, etc.

1kWh per day isn't even going to cover your "vampire" drain.
 

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I am looking at using the rack attachment point to build a truck rack. I think I can populate the rack with five 300W units. Not sure how to get that energy back into the R1T and not sure how many miles that gets you in terms of added distance. But it is free miles......
 

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I am looking at using the rack attachment point to build a truck rack. I think I can populate the rack with five 300W units. Not sure how to get that energy back into the R1T and not sure how many miles that gets you in terms of added distance. But it is free miles......
Using the Jackery Powerpack to store and then plug into charge port. Not sure if the AC plugs in the bed are two way. If they are then you could plug the Powerback in and as it was charged by the panels, it charges the truck.
 

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Depends on what you consider substantial. Under ideal conditions (e.g. perpendicular to the sun) a 20% efficient panel will produce 18.6w of energy per square foot. The tonneau cover is approximately 19 square feet, so that gets you about 353W. If (and it's a huge IF) you got ideal conditions for 8 hours that'd generate 2.8kWh of energy, not considering conversion losses. I have an 8kW system on the roof of my house and I don't think it's ever produced even 7kW in the brightest, Denver sun. Here's what the power curve looked like from yesterday.
View attachment 6650
Far from optimal.
The reality is that with a tonneau sized system you'll likely generate well under 1kW over the typical day, so likely less than 3 miles of added range.
The 20 percent sucks with the current photovoltaic tech for panels. Will probably have to wait until probably multi-layer perovskite panels are more readily available with a 56 percent efficiency rating. Technology for solar is moving so fast nowadays.
 
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