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Pilat

Tossing ewoks on Titan
You're not getting my point at all.

I'm positing what's possible today without resorting to extreme engineering & expense, not suggesting that a solar powered Pan-Am trip in a Prius V would be fast or free from serious constraints. Nothing more than that.
And you're not getting this: A solar-only car is not feasible. A car powered by (say) house-mounted solar panels is (commuter). But travelling with a solar-only is not. If you're only saying that 100 % electric vehicles are feasible. Well, yes, of course they are. You can use the grid or use house mounted solar panels to charge the thing. All of those are options that are obviously available today.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
And you're not getting this: A solar-only car is not feasible.
I wouldn't say "never" since future technologies can't be predicted.

The physics we understand at this point do suggest that using solar power will unlikely be capable of total self reliance for vehicles in our current paradigm. The panel efficiency and energy density of sunlight just isn't there to offset moving large vehicles with a time and distance that we're accustomed to. There's no order of magnitude jump on the horizon either.

Going 100 miles every other day just isn't useful unless that's all you're doing is roaming from place to place. Most of us have a destination and schedule. That's not to say I agree with the "put down 800 miles in an iron butt marathon" approach to travel necessarily but sometimes you do need to cover ground just the same.
 

Pilat

Tossing ewoks on Titan
I wouldn't say "never" since future technologies can't be predicted.
Well, it can. We do know the efficiency of solar. You can't go over 100 % efficiency. And even with such a high number, it still won't be feasible.


The physics we understand at this point do suggest that using solar power will unlikely be capable of totally self reliance for vehicles in our current paradigm.
It's not a "paradigm": You can't make solar panels (or anything else) more than 100 percent efficient. If you could, you would have made the first perpetual motion machine.

The panel efficiency and energy density of sunlight just isn't there to offset moving large vehicles with a time and distance that we're accustomed to. Going 100 miles every other day just isn't useful. There's no order of magnitude jump on the horizon either.
100 miles/day with solar panels either directly driving the thing or first charging batteries won't be possible with 100 % efficient solar panels, unless you make one of those extreme solar challenge vehicles.
 

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AbleGuy

Too Much Fun Club, founder
The Prius is perfectly fine as an electric vehicle since you can charge it, it is possible to run it without solar... You'd have to design an extreme vehicle for solar-only to be an option.
All this about the Prius got me wondering....have any of you seen a Prius that’s been modded for higher ground clearance or better suspension travel, for better use on crappy dirt roads ? A small EV or hybrid small truck useable for mild “off roading” would be so cool. These huge, expensive Rivians and Tesla’s are just too big. So.... Just wondering (Mods, please don’t delete 😰...as I’m hoping this post does follow where thread current is...)


EDIT>Picture below...Wow! Ok! Thx for links Pilat,

1577739835188.jpeg
 
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Pilat

Tossing ewoks on Titan
All this about the Prius got me wondering....have any of you seen a Prius that’s been modded for higher ground clearance or better suspension travel, for better use on crappy dirt roads ? Would that be possible? Just wondering (Mods, please don’t delete 😰...as I’m hoping this post does follow where thread current is...)
Found a few:

 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Sheesh, you're being argumentative, I agree with you.
Well, it can. We do know the efficiency of solar. You can't go over 100 % efficiency. And even with such a high number, it still won't be feasible.
That's why I said "energy density of sunlight just isn't there." There's no way around that we get no more than 1.4 kW/m^2 of radiation. But before 1940 the idea of a PV cell at all was only hypothesized so we're in our infancy in the field.
It's not a "paradigm": You can't make solar panels (or anything else) more than 100 percent efficient. If you could, you would have made the first perpetual motion machine.
The paradigm I'm speaking of is a 4WD box van that is heavy and not particularly aerodynamic. It might be feasible already to spend one day charging and the next going 250 miles on a motorcycle or e-bike. That's already the case. How far will 10 gallons of gasoline take each of those right now?

So the paradigm shift would be for off grid travel huge MANs and Unimogs can't be used anymore. I never said I welcome what seems like a negative evolution in our technology. That's a philosophical argument, though. Is it really any better to perhaps put a solar farm every 100 miles to charge vehicles in the Australian Outback than burning fossil fuels? Is it at all practical to attempt solar charging if it takes four times as long? Now you need to carry 4 times the water and food, which puts you in a downward spiral of adding weight that reduces range to the point it can't be done at all.
 

Pilat

Tossing ewoks on Titan
Sheesh, you're being argumentative, I agree with you.

That's why I said "energy density of sunlight just isn't there." There's no way around that we get no more than 1.4 kW/m^2 of radiation. But before 1940 the idea of a PV cell at all was only hypothesized so we're in our infancy in the field.
That may be. But the reality is that you won't get more energy than that (at the very, very max - ideal position of the sun etc.). So it doesn't matter if PV cells are around 25% efficient, or even if they were only 3 % efficient by now. We know for a fact how much we should be able to get at the very max. And even the max is not enough.

The paradigm I'm speaking of is a 4WD box van that is heavy and not particularly aerodynamic. It might be feasible already to spend one day charging and the next going 250 miles on a motorcycle or e-bike. That's already the case. How far will 10 gallons of gasoline take each of those right now?
That's not a "paradigm". But, yes, you can charge for 250 miles for one day, but you can't actually carry that much solar on an ebike or motorcycle. And for an ebike to go 250 miles in a day? Yeah, not happening. At that stage it would have to have a huge battery, it would have to be even bigger if you aimed to do that many miles in ten hours or less (drag), and at that stage, you basically have to have a huge battery like in a motorcycle. And with that comes an increased need for solar panel wattage, and therefore panel size/panel numbers.


So the paradigm shift would be for off grid travel huge MANs and Unimogs can't be used anymore.
Yikes, you want to go 250 miles offroad? Yeah, you have to at least double (triple, or even quadruple) the Ah of the batteries, and likewise for the solar panels.

I never said I welcome what seems like a negative evolution in our technology. That's a philosophical argument, though. Is it really any better to perhaps put a solar farm every 100 miles to charge vehicles in the Australian Outback than burning fossil fuels?
Who would pay for that sort of grid and to maintain it? If you have solar farms that has to story battery somehow, why not build out the normal grid with charging stations and power that with much bigger solar farms and wind?

Is it at all practical to attempt solar charging if it takes four times as long?
It takes way longer than "four times as long" if you have to carry your own panels.

Now you need to carry 4 times the water and food, which puts you in a downward spiral of adding weight that reduces range to the point it can't be done at all.
It does take way longer than 4 times, but you could charge a pretty large battery bank with (a lot of) solar in a couple of days or three, whereas it may only take 1-2 hours to charge it with a level 2 charger. But if you really want to go off grid, you will be out for a couple of days or even a week anyway. I am not sure carrying "extra" water is that much more in practice. You want to carry enough water anyway or a way to clean water (and knowing how to find it).
 

F350joe

Adventurer
All this about the Prius got me wondering....have any of you seen a Prius that’s been modded for higher ground clearance or better suspension travel, for better use on crappy dirt roads ? A small EV or hybrid small truck useable for mild “off roading” would be so cool. These huge, expensive Rivians and Tesla’s are just too big. So.... Just wondering (Mods, please don’t delete 😰...as I’m hoping this post does follow where thread current is...)


EDIT>Picture below...Wow! Ok! Thx for links Pilat,

View attachment 558548
I have heard people can get a bed into the back of the Tesla suv thing. I wondering if you could just bounce from campground to campground in one of those and just charge overnight.

I wonder what will happen if these EV become more affordable. Will more people be driving and taking more road trips because fuel cost is no longer a major budget item?
 

shade

Well-known member
And you're not getting this: A solar-only car is not feasible. A car powered by (say) house-mounted solar panels is (commuter). But travelling with a solar-only is not. If you're only saying that 100 % electric vehicles are feasible. Well, yes, of course they are. You can use the grid or use house mounted solar panels to charge the thing. All of those are options that are obviously available today.
You're being exceptionally dense.

I specifically said "serious constraints". In this case, those would be comfort, and relative to ICE or mains-charged EVs, long recharge times coupled with short distances covered. I didn't think anyone would fail to understand the meaning, but here we are.

If that doesn't clear it up, I don't know what will.
 

shade

Well-known member
Sheesh, you're being argumentative, I agree with you.

That's why I said "energy density of sunlight just isn't there." There's no way around that we get no more than 1.4 kW/m^2 of radiation. But before 1940 the idea of a PV cell at all was only hypothesized so we're in our infancy in the field.

The paradigm I'm speaking of is a 4WD box van that is heavy and not particularly aerodynamic. It might be feasible already to spend one day charging and the next going 250 miles on a motorcycle or e-bike. That's already the case. How far will 10 gallons of gasoline take each of those right now?

So the paradigm shift would be for off grid travel huge MANs and Unimogs can't be used anymore. I never said I welcome what seems like a negative evolution in our technology. That's a philosophical argument, though. Is it really any better to perhaps put a solar farm every 100 miles to charge vehicles in the Australian Outback than burning fossil fuels? Is it at all practical to attempt solar charging if it takes four times as long? Now you need to carry 4 times the water and food, which puts you in a downward spiral of adding weight that reduces range to the point it can't be done at all.
It's all about logistics. Reminds me of mountaineering and rocketry.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

shade

Well-known member
The more fuel you carry, the more fuel you need to carry.


View attachment 558583
I've been reading What If? , and rocketry comes up frequently. Excellent book.

 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Those along with two Sprinters and an F350 pulling a box trailer with two spare bikes and fast chargers. I don't see how that's much indication on the current state of solar-charged touring.
It's an indication of the current sate of electric vehicle touring.
Like I said, it will only get better in the coming years, and sooner or later we're going to cross the "ready for mainstream overlanding" barrier. It's just a question of when.

-Dan
 
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