Categories: TechTesla

Elon Musk: Solar panels on Cybertruck & New Tesla Van

Elon Musk says that the Cybertruck will most likely not have solar panels. In a session released on Thursday with popular comedian & podcaster Joe Rogan, the Tesla CEO talked about why having solar panels on the new cyber truck would not be effective enough.

Rogen asked if the Cybertruck could ever feature solar charging and Musk replied with a possible surface where the panels could be slapped on; the cover of the truck bed. This would indicate Tesla had entertained the idea.
He imagined owners leaving their trucks out in the sun to charge but admitted that the combination of current solar panels’ efficiency and the limited surface area available on the Cybertruck means the mileage gained won’t be substantial.

“There’s about 1 kilowatt per square meter of solar energy, you’re going to get maybe 20-25% efficiency so you get … assuming you are normal to the sun…you’re facing the sun or not.

“You add all those things up and say what are you really going to get, and then how many watt-hours per mile, so, yes, basically, if you could do ten miles a day you’d be lucky,” he said.


A disappointed Rogen asked if future advances in solar panel engineering could make it possible to harvest more energy from the sun for the Cybertruck but Elon could not see that happening, insisting the surface area available for attaching the panels is the major limiting factor.
Refusing to give up, Rogen went on to describe a scenario where a car (obviously still referring to the Cybertruck) has its entire surface covered in solar panels and recharges from the sun as it is driven around. The Tesla CEO pointed out that the car would drain the battery faster than it would be recharging, which makes it not practical. He agreed with Rogen that setting up the panels at home, where the surface area can be larger, to charge a battery that would then charge the Cybertruck was a more workable solution.


The host then touched on the possibility of a Tesla van, to which Musk replied it would make a better candidate for solar charging, because of the roof’s larger surface area.
“A van, because you’ve got a big flat area, that’s actually where solar could start to make a little more sense because you could have a lot of area”
Still, more surface area for the panels would be needed to tap considerable energy. And the van would have to be stationary, as Musk mused using awnings to increase the surface.
“You could have a roof that is solar and when it’s stationary [the awning] goes out and provides shade and triples your area. Then you triple your area and you’ve got a big flat surface, maybe you could start having charging enough that you get 30 miles a day.”

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