Car roofs will soon stop being useless

Criswell predicts TeslaMondoTo date, no automaker has figured out how to utilize a car’s roof for anything besides holding cargo, intermittently letting in light, and temporarily holding your coffee until you make your first turn. Any solar effort “up there” has amounted to gimmickry. The limited surface area and the sheer porkiness of solar equipment negate any meaningful utility — so far, at least.

Criswell thinks that Tesla is going to solve this puzzle, and soon. Tesla and glass are becoming a thing, ‘case you haven’t noticed. Witness the household solar roof products, and the newish in-house glass division, and the big-sky Model X windshield/moonroof, and the new Model S glass roof option.

It won’t be long before Tesla’s automotive roofs perform meaningful functions. At first, they might generate enough energy to nix vampire draw. With time, they’ll extend range a bit, and so on until they become a vital part of the vehicle’s powertrain. Yes, vehicles are lagging behind buildings in solar harnessing, but all indicators point to Tesla closing that gap very soon. Technology, some of it pioneered by Tesla, will make smaller and smaller surfaces usefully photovoltaic. If solar-plus-battery go together like peanut butter and jelly in buildings, the same combo will soon work in vehicles. So says Criswell.


2 thoughts on “Car roofs will soon stop being useless

  1. Timmy says:

    Timmy is of the opinion that peanut butter and jelly actually do NOT go together at all, even if their “initials” PB&J might. Peanut butter and chocolate, on the other hand, DO go together, and isn’t that the usual expression? (Almond butter and chocolate is even a better combination, but that’s a different conversation. 🙂 )

    That being said, it sounds like Musk might be talking about some sort of solar “canopy” that would sprout from the roof(?) The canopy might have 6 times the roof area, plus the ability to track the sun.

    SpaceX must have experts in the science of folding&unfolding, or rigid origami (cf Miura map fold, that is used to deploy solar panels on satellites), which would certainly come in handy for placing such a thing on a car roof. Weight, volume (size), cost, falcon-wing doors, and regulations are just few of the (other) obstacles, but if any”one” can overcome them, it would be Musk and all of his companies.

    Still, it’s hard to see how an extra 10-15(?) miles per parked hour would be worth all of this hassle when electricity is so cheap and L2 chargers (which provide 15-20 miles per hour for a Model S) are becoming more popular, especially at workplaces.

    We shall see.




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