Additional Solar Panels – Confirmed?(!)

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Additional Solar Panels – Confirmed?(!)

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Additional Solar Panels – Confirmed?(!)

  • Additional Solar Panels – Confirmed?(!)

     Stefan Obel updated 1 month, 1 week ago 24 Members · 51 Posts
  • John Young

    Member
    April 13, 2022 at 7:11 am

    In the Q&A with Chris on the Aptera Owners Club YouTube @ 3:18 Chris seems to confirm that there will be an ability to plug additional panels directly into the Aptera. This, for me, is huge news. It also sounds like that it can handle an additional 1,000 watts of solar input. Buying panels on Amazon is ballpark $1 watt. You can get down to $0.50 a watt if you look around the internet. So for a $1,000 you can more than double your sun-charging capacity…when stationary 🙂

    These guys are building solar roof kits for EVs.

    https://www.evsolarkits.com/product-page/extendable-kit-for-any-ev

    I know that my first Aptera project will be to build a fold out auxiliary panel that maximizes the solar controller.

  • Riley ________________________________

    Member
    April 13, 2022 at 7:20 am

    I wonder what will happen if you exceed that maximum input watts.

    • John Young

      Member
      April 13, 2022 at 7:39 am

      Depends by how much 🙂 The actual limit is not watts but amps and voltage. Watts = volts x amps. Depending on how you arrange your panels, in series or parallel, affects the voltage and amperage. So you can get to 1,000 watts using a single 1,000 watt panel that is 20 volts at 50 amps. Or 10, 100 watt panels at 6 amps and 16 volts in parallel would give you 1,000 watts at 60 amps and 16 volts. I’m sure there will be some pretty clear guidelines what the max input can be. To answer your question though, if you go over the max in amps or volts you fry the solar controller.

      • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  John Young.
      • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  John Young.
      • Alain Chuzel

        Member
        April 13, 2022 at 6:27 pm

        Where can I get a 1000 watt solar panel?

        While it is true there likely an upper limit to a given controller’s voltage and current handling capabilities, I’m not sure one can say “the actual limit is not watts”. I’m not too up to speed on what “solar controllers” are available these days but I suspect at least some will have an upper limit on watts even if one of the other (voltage or current) is well under its limit.

        • John Young

          Member
          April 13, 2022 at 7:26 pm

          1,000 watt panel is indeed, just an example. As long as you’re within the limits of voltage and amps on the solar controller you can go over on rated wattage. This is actually done quite often when building out a solar system in order to increase the period of maximum solar generation during the day. Say the solar controller will allow 500 watts max and you have exactly a 500 watts in panels, that means you can charge at a max rate for maybe 2 hours a day. If you have 700 watts in panels then that same solar controller will still only allow 500 watts but you might be able to charge at the max rate for 4 hours. Again, provided your voltage and amps are within specifications. If the Aptera can handle 1,000 watts you won’t be able to hook up 10,000 watts but probably 1,500. It all depends how much headroom they built in and what the max amps and voltage it can handle. Time will tell!

          • Alain Chuzel

            Member
            April 14, 2022 at 6:05 am

            Thank you John. In closing, I hope you don’t mind that I’m going to recommend that anyone wanting to “add some solar” should really try to understand the particular solar controller that may be in the Aptera and limit their solar voltage, current and power accordingly.

  • Peter Jorgensen

    Member
    April 13, 2022 at 7:47 am

    Do y’all realize what else this means?

    You can put an auxiliary battery in the trunk and charge it via this power plug through the solar controller. Now, it’s only 1000W extra maybe and Aptera uses 6kw at 60mph – Maybe 8kw at 70mph. So at 70mph a 600 mile Aptera with a 150 lb 10kwh auxiliary battery feeding the Aptera would go from 600 mile range to 700 mile range or even 750 if solar was factored in.

    You could also throw a wind turbine on the trailer hitch when parked and use that to feed the battery too!

    • kerbe2705

      Member
      April 13, 2022 at 8:21 pm

      Unless, of course, you factor in the increased weight of the vehicle and the detrimental effect that will have on its range…

      • Peter Jorgensen

        Member
        April 14, 2022 at 9:18 am

        Extra 200 lbs – 2% worse, right? Or how much loss per lb?

    • Efrain Goody

      Member
      April 22, 2022 at 10:01 am

      Lol, just leave it on while driving and collect the power back from the wind as you go. At highway speeds, there’s a lot of wind. Why waste all of that free wind energy?

      • Efrain Goody

        Member
        April 22, 2022 at 10:01 am

        …fake science ftw!

      • Alain Chuzel

        Member
        April 23, 2022 at 5:51 am

        If you’re referring to the air flowing over the car as it moves, that’s not “wind”.

  • Raj Giandeep

    Member
    April 13, 2022 at 11:17 am

    Very excited to see this news. Exactly why I made a video about it a while back. This is huge & something no other EV offers currently

    • John Malcom

      Member
      April 13, 2022 at 12:15 pm

      hmmmm….why do you think no other EV company offers this feature? Perhaps not enough market to support the R&D and production cost to include it. Insufficient demand.

      • Efrain Goody

        Member
        April 22, 2022 at 10:08 am

        Or maybe they know that you’d have to have a ton of panels to make any kind of difference for most EVs. If you were to carry all of those, you wouldn’t have any place to store anything else, and if you were to build out a stationary setup, you might as well build a system that can run your house as well. In that case, you might as well just get a generic EV wall charger.

  • John Malcom

    Member
    April 13, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    I am glad Aptera is doing this for those than have a practical use for it. I have no use case for this feature as my Aptera will be used for commuting around the city and for occasional short trips of 200 mi (Round trip), all well with in my 400 mi battery range and 40 mi free with full solar. I live in FL where it is sunny most of the time.

    Remember if you put a large battery in the back, the weight will affect your range at any speed. In physics, there is no free lunch!

  • Vernon Michael Gardner

    Member
    April 13, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    It is still conjecture at this point. We have been discussing it here in the forums for about 7 or 8 months at least. I’m really glad when I saw the video that it is something they were considering addressing.

    I have been testing out pre-built panels and I plan on carrying a few in the back of the car.

    • Alain Chuzel

      Member
      April 23, 2022 at 5:55 am

      What kind of “pre-built” panels are you testing out? I’m generally of a mind of avoiding “flex type” with any crystalline cells in them. Unless “stiffened” more, they just won’t last if repeatedly flexed…..

  • Gabriel Kemeny

    Member
    April 14, 2022 at 5:51 am

    There might be some really disappointed fans here when some of these “promised” features either don’t happen at all or in such a configuration to make them much less useful than imagined.

  • Greg Vickery

    Member
    April 14, 2022 at 7:25 am

    I have 3000 watts of solar power on my rv and hope to tie into it if possible when my Aptera is not driven.

    • Alain Chuzel

      Member
      April 14, 2022 at 7:44 am

      Please, please, please be sure to understand Aptera’s limits of what you may plug in. Once the smoke is let out of Aptera’s electronics, it may be difficult to put back in……

      • Greg Vickery

        Member
        April 14, 2022 at 7:58 am

        Like I said whatever is possible!

      • John Malcom

        Member
        April 14, 2022 at 9:34 am

        👍Not only difficult but expensive.

      • V Pilot

        Member
        April 14, 2022 at 3:45 pm

        Ahh yes, the magic smoke. I’ve never had any luck collecting it and putting it back from whence it came. Always a new component is needed.

        • Dennis Swaney

          Member
          May 19, 2022 at 11:16 am

          IIRC, the worst magic smoke was from Lucas!

    • Joshua Rosen

      Member
      April 14, 2022 at 10:40 am

      Assuming that they provide an expansion port at some point it will either have to be some sort of standard interface that incorporates voltage and current checks that prevent it from blowing up your car or if it’s a proprietary solution then they will have to offer a solar panel kit that includes the panels and everything else required to do the job. I doubt that they will have expansion capability at the time that they launch the car and probably not for a couple of years after that. It’s a significant engineering effort fraught with serious liabilities that they are ill equipped to handle at this stage. In the future offering an expansion kit based on their existing solar panels makes the most sense (in my opinion). It might make for a popular option and by utilizing the same panels that they already use it would be a much simpler engineering job. For now the only external solar option that I’d count on is putting a solar system on your house and time your charging to occur during daylight hours.

  • Ray Holan

    Moderator
    April 15, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Yes, John. I noted Chris’ video statement about plugging in extra solar panels.

    There’s skepticism expressed later in this thread as to whether and when Aptera might provide that plug-in capability. As forum members have reminded us, it’s all Monolopy money until Apterae roll out the factory door. The design and feature set continues to evolve.

    Allowing some auxiliary charging via a portable solar panel is a feature that (if they provide it) will be especially welcome to Aptera owners who are off-road or boon docking. Whatever solar controller they use will, of necessity, have a capacity that is limited to a certain watt and volt specification (others have noted this later in the thread). So, it remains to be seen HOW and WHEN, but according to Chris’ statement in the video, this feature is planned.

    • Vernon Michael Gardner

      Member
      April 15, 2022 at 3:45 pm

      Ray, very eloquent. We will see what we will see.

      • Ray Holan

        Moderator
        April 23, 2022 at 7:55 am

        Thanks, Vernon. It should be a VERY interesting summer as design features get finalized with Aptera nearing production.

    • Richard Palmisano

      Member
      May 19, 2022 at 9:01 am

      Well said Ray, I said something very similar. The charge controller will determine the solar array configuration to get that extra 1000 watts in addition to the proposed 750ish watts. Not sure how practical it is to lug panels around, but if the charger is high efficiency then direct DC charging at home might make some sense vs. 1800w standard plug (120v @ 15 amps).

  • kerbe2705

    Member
    April 20, 2022 at 9:54 pm
  • Michael Jordan

    Member
    April 22, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I have small stand-alone solar units at my house to power window A/C units (etc). If I bought an Aptera, I would probably expand the one right by the driveway (I don’t have a garage) to 4, 100-Ah batteries and 2 more panels. When I got home, I could charge an additional 2000-3000 Wh into the battery without tapping into the grid. I would probably just use the AC inverter for this (I know, convert DC-AC-DC…) because the charging circuits would most easily handle it. I wouldn’t need the panel expansion. Of course, the ability to bring a few extra 100 W panels camping, etc, would be really useful, but I am wondering how practical this would be for every-day usage.

  • Efrain Goody

    Member
    April 22, 2022 at 10:18 am

    Or make a big solar panel trailer and charge on the go as well!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EyRqQhuwio

    • John Malcom

      Member
      April 22, 2022 at 11:52 am

      Not practical on a road or highway. 😉

      • Llewellyn Evans

        Member
        April 22, 2022 at 3:18 pm

        Looks like a centipede

      • Efrain Goody

        Member
        April 22, 2022 at 4:13 pm

        Obviously, but this video was pretty cool. He actually only used three panels (thumbnail is a bit click-baitish,) and ended with a positive net charge at the end of his ride. I don’t have time right now to do the math, but it would be cool to know how many 100w panels at peak efficiency it would take to drive the aptera on solar alone. Of course, this wouldn’t take into account the additional drag caused by the trailer, but it would be interesting nonetheless.

        • Gary Greenway

          Member
          April 22, 2022 at 8:51 pm

          Motormatchup estimates that it will take about 7.3kW to run the Aptera at 70 MPH. So 73 100 watt panels. Might be better off sticking with a battery and leave the panels at home to charge it when parked.

          • Jonah Jorgenson

            Member
            April 23, 2022 at 7:59 am

            Yep. Practical observation.

      • Stefan Obel

        Member
        May 21, 2022 at 6:08 am

        @John Malcom given all those reckless ICE car drivers who can’t hold their distance to the vehicle in front of them I think this is a very practical solution LOL

  • Nolan Parsons

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 7:31 am

    What about solar cell swapping if something better comes to market, what swift solar is developing with perovskite has me excited at the possibilities? Perhaps there will come a point that the aptera is powered exclusively by the sun on clear days and the battery is there as a back up for night driving or supplemental power source when there is overcast.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Nolan Parsons.
    • John Malcom

      Member
      April 23, 2022 at 7:36 am

      Perhaps in in a future iteration of Aptera. It would be exciting! I think a while before it would be priced as a commodity.

      • Nolan Parsons

        Member
        April 23, 2022 at 8:58 am

        Yeah, the future will always be amazing but its biggest downside will always be that you have to wait for it.

    • Alain Chuzel

      Member
      April 23, 2022 at 8:01 am

      John’s right about it may be a while. Think in terms of a decade or two. There is quite a bit of R&D being done around Perovskite-based solar because of it’s potential but it’s still early yet. I’m hoping to get my hands of some Swift Solar made product sometime soon!

      • Nolan Parsons

        Member
        April 23, 2022 at 9:05 am

        I agree, at least a decade before they are available with an affordable price; and if I’m not mistaken that’s about the same time one would need to replace their aptera’s solar cells😁

  • Richard Palmisano

    Member
    May 19, 2022 at 8:53 am

    I’m glad I searched the forum first and found this.

    An additional capacity of 1000W of solar is great and I look forward to the spec on how many additional amps/volts the solar charge controller can handle and the configurations that can be used (series/parrallel panels).

    The practicality of this for road tripping is not ideal. You would need to lug (4)- 250w std polychrystaline panels (typically 65″x40″) to get that capacity. Monochrystaline flexible is an option, but those produce less power, requiring more panels and they are more expensive.

    Maybe this is a boon for those with solar at home, with the assumpion that direct DC charging from solar will be more efficient? You could dedicate a section of the array for the vehicle for direct DC charging. Unless it’s much mor efficienct to DC charge via solar directly (and that will depend directly on the charge controller Aptera decides to use), most will plug in to an AC outlet and chug…

  • Christopher Morehouse

    Member
    May 20, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    Will the additional solar capacity go through the same controller/charger as the external power chargers (J-Plud, CCS, DC fast whatever it ends up being) or through the charge controller used the the on board solar cells?

    Will the battery pack be able to accept power from both systems at the same time? Like if it is plugged in to charge, does it still trickle in the solar as well?

    • kerbe2705

      Member
      May 20, 2022 at 9:28 pm

      @Christopher Morehouse Somewhere along the line we were told that it would NOT be able to accept solar charging while charging from a plug.

      • Oz (It’s Oz, just Oz)

        Member
        May 21, 2022 at 5:22 am

        kerbe, the caveat I remember was that the onboard solar would work during all circumstances, except when DC fast charging. Whether that would indicate that additional panels connected would be covered in the same instance is unclear to me, unless they have specified that answer.

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