Printed solar panels to power Tesla on Australian road trip
Image credit: Stefica Nicol Bikes/Reuters
Scientists in Australia are testing printed solar panels they will use to power a Tesla on a 15,100km journey beginning in September. They hope the road trip will get the public thinking about steps to help avert climate change.
The Charge Around Australia project will power a Tesla with 18 of the team’s printed solar panels, each 18m long, rolling them out beside the vehicle to soak up sunlight when the car needs charging.
Paul Dastoor, the inventor of the printed solar panels, said the University of Newcastle (New South Wales) team would be testing not only the endurance of the panels but their potential performance for other applications.
“This is actually an ideal testbed to give us information about how we go about using and powering technology in other remote locations, for example, in space,” Dastoor told news agency Reuters in the town of Gosforth, north of Sydney.
Printed solar is a lightweight, laminated PET plastic that can be made at a cost of less than A$10 a square metre. Such panels are made on a commercial printer used for printing wine labels.
According to Dastoor, using the panels to power a car would get Australians to think more about electric vehicles and could help ease their range anxiety.
“The community is seeking these sorts of answers to the problems it’s being presented with, day in, day out, around climate change,” he said.
On their 84-day Tesla journey, the team plans to visit about 70 schools to give students a taste of what an electric future may hold.
Dastoor also hopes Tesla’s creator Elon Musk would be pleased about the project. “CAA was showing how our innovative technology is now combining with his developments to develop new solutions for the planet,” he added.
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