Solar power is slowly starting to become considered as a means of extending the range of EVs. Instead of integrating the extenders into the vehicles themselves, some companies are thinking of creative ways of having the extender with the vehicle separately. Take the Tesla solar range extender trailer Electrek reported Tesla unveiled in Germany. While it’s a step in the right direction, don’t expect to see it for sale anytime soon.
Tesla is at the "IdeenExpo" in Hannover.— Tesla_Adri (@tesla_adri) July 4, 2022
They brought a solar range extender trailer with Starlink.
And a Model Y with the 4680 structural battery pack.
Next to the Tesla stand is the VW stand. There are apparently more VW employees at the Tesla stand than Tesla employees. pic.twitter.com/8IHxLI5ukW
While some EV owners may have been thinking of ways they can integrate solar panels with their vehicles for more range, Tesla went the easy way. At the IdeenExpo in Hanover, Germany, Tesla unveiled a two-wheeled trailer with deployable solar panels attached to each side. The trailer even has Starlink satellite internet to give the vehicle it’s being pulled behind wireless internet access anywhere.
Don’t expect to see this thing for sale anytime soon, though. Tesla has no intentions of making it, nor did anyone get a reason as to why it was made or brought to the expo. It was shown alongside other tech from the company like a new battery pack for the Model Y.
It’s probably all for the best, anyway. A trailer used as a range extender probably isn’t the best idea, as the weight and drag of the trailer negate any gains from the extender itself. There’s also the fact that the solar panels equipped on the trailer are small. Electrek’s Fred Lambert did the maths and gathered that, assuming those panels are 300w, the trailer would generate less than 80 km of range a day.
None of that is to say that this is a dumb idea though. It’s a step in the right direction for Tesla to experiment with something like this. It’s the only way kinks can get ironed out. Engineers will get it right one day, be it from Tesla or any other company out there working on something similar.