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Solar car cover

Posted: Tue, 25 Nov 2014, 17:51
by crustovich
Being the proud owner of an Outlander PHEV, and finding the staff parking company less than enthusiastic in setting up charging facilities at work, I am investigating the viability of a solar car cover.
I understand to date, it has not been feasible due to the low yield of solar panels, however, as I generally leave the car in the outdoor car park for 3 to 4 days at a time, I wonder if this changes the equation at all.
Any thoughts / advice would be welcome.

Adrian.

Solar car cover

Posted: Tue, 25 Nov 2014, 20:44
by Richo
Car Roof rack perhaps 500W of panels
So ~2.5kWh per day.
And 8-10kWh for 3-4 days.

Sounds plausible.

The issue I see is getting the solar to actually charge the car.
MPPT solar regulator and Sine wave inverter.
Then how to tell the charger you only have 500W peak - intermittently.




Solar car cover

Posted: Tue, 25 Nov 2014, 21:24
by Johny
Richo wrote:Then how to tell the charger you only have 500W peak - intermittently.
Good point Richo. So the question is how low can a J1772 connection go? Power wise?

Solar car cover

Posted: Tue, 25 Nov 2014, 22:45
by marty11
I read somewhere about the Chevy Volt not liking a figure below about 750 watts - then stops charging..

Solar car cover

Posted: Tue, 25 Nov 2014, 23:32
by crustovich
Thanks Richo and others, 8-10kWh does sound good, though I am in Melbourne, so probably not getting as much sun as you in WA Image .
Whether the charger will accept it seems to be the next hurdle.
Enjoying the discussion, and looking forward to the project.

Cheers
Adrian

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 02:14
by Gabz
you can get solar trailers you take up a 2nd parking space. you build them with a small battery bank so you can charge your car at the normal amperage. but charge the trailer batteries at a slower rate.

example: (company in this case is does EVs too)
http://www.solarpoweraustralia.com.au/P ... ilers.html

your not the first to have issue...people get upset when they think your getting something for free.

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 03:52
by Astroboy
crustovich wrote: Being the proud owner of an Outlander PHEV, and finding the staff parking company less than enthusiastic in setting up charging facilities at work, I am investigating the viability of a solar car cover.
I would speak to the company's neighbours. There may be people more enthusiastic about electric charging a short walk away from where you work.
Some of the money that you would need to put to a solar trailer/cover set up could be put to co-funding a charging station nearby.
You would get somewhere to charge your car, they would get a cheap charging station for a reduced cost.
I imagine putting in two charging stations wouldn't cost a lot more than just one. So even if you tie up one for days the other one is available.

Just a thought.

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 04:35
by T1 Terry
You could build a 12v Li battery and charge that via the solar and have an inverter, maybe 1500w or 2000w powering the charge port, even smaller if it will handle a lower charge rate. Voltage sensing at the battery to turn the inverter on when the battery reached 13.6v and off when it fell to 12v

T1 Terry

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 12:07
by crustovich
Thanks for the suggestion Gabz, unfortunately storage of the trailer at home would be an issue, also I wonder how much of my precious 52km range (50km commute) would be sucked by towing the trailer ?

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 12:26
by crustovich
The parking is at Melbourne airport, so not many neighbours around.

I haven't given up on the parking company. After an initial "no plans" response to my enquiry, I have suggested to them, that all I need is a 15 amp power point at the base of 1 of their large light poles (preferably 4 points for the 4 parking spaces around the pole) and maybe markings to restrict parking to EV's only. Cheap green cred for them I would have thought.
No reply yet but maybe they are looking into it before getting back to me .

Next step is to approach the company I work for to encourage the parking company to look at this.

However being a realist living in Australia I am also exploring the solar car cover option ....

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 13:47
by coulomb
T1 Terry wrote: You could build a 12v Li battery and charge that via the solar and have an inverter, maybe 1500w or 2000w powering the charge port...

Yes, that could well help. I note that you still have to find a way to "throttle" the charger. If the charger demands more than the small inverter can supply, it will either shut down or blow up. It will not be an amicable agreement over the amount of power available. At least, no charger I know of is that accommodating of a limited current source.

If the inverter can supply the charger, but the solar panel can't keep the battery charged, then you also need some mechanism to turn off the charger for periods of time, so the battery doesn't get over discharged.

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 14:36
by Gabz
crustovich wrote: The parking is at Melbourne airport, so not many neighbours around.


you can already charge at Melbourne airport http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/11409

you need to grab a blink card... may take awhile or if you look at the double entry the green one there is a comment saying there is a driver in Melbourne who have some spare.
Being Blink network units, you need an Australian Blink network card which aren't officially available for new EV owners. However, I have acquired some spare Blink cards left over from the DoT EV trial. Contact me on mws1047@hotmail.com if you need a card that works on these charging stations, and the ones at the Arts Centre and Museum Melbourne

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 14:37
by Gabz
crustovich wrote: Thanks for the suggestion Gabz, unfortunately storage of the trailer at home would be an issue, also I wonder how much of my precious 52km range (50km commute) would be sucked by towing the trailer ?


Just leave the trailer in the carpark and move it around a little so no one suspects a thing.

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 15:21
by Adverse Effects
Gabz wrote:you can already charge at Melbourne airport http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/11409


Airport Drive, Melbourne Airport, VIC, 3045
Phone
(613) 929-7160
Cost
$15.00/hr
Hours
24/7

ahhh really? isnt that a little extreme?

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 16:26
by antiscab
If the PHEV outlander has roof racks mount points - you could make up an array you could setup each time you park, but stow away inside the car while actually driving

combine that with that PIP4048 inverter and a 48v Li battery, and you could be set

just need to find some panels that are small enough

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 16:31
by T1 Terry
coulomb wrote:
T1 Terry wrote: You could build a 12v Li battery and charge that via the solar and have an inverter, maybe 1500w or 2000w powering the charge port...

Yes, that could well help. I note that you still have to find a way to "throttle" the charger. If the charger demands more than the small inverter can supply, it will either shut down or blow up. It will not be an amicable agreement over the amount of power available. At least, no charger I know of is that accommodating of a limited current source.

If the inverter can supply the charger, but the solar panel can't keep the battery charged, then you also need some mechanism to turn off the charger for periods of time, so the battery doesn't get over discharged.

A simple voltage sensing relay or circuit, it could either control the supply side on the inverter in the case of a voltage sensing relay or the actual on/off switch to the inverter in the case of a voltage sensing circuit. The W7 3000/9000w inverter/charger available on evil bay will power any charger designed to run on a 10 amp powerpoint and recharge both the battery when connected to mains as a bonus as they have auto switch through combined with a battery charger with multiple settings for charging regimes. At around the $480 mark they are good value.

T1 Terry

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 16:51
by Gabz
Adverse Effects wrote:
Gabz wrote:you can already charge at Melbourne airport http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/11409


Airport Drive, Melbourne Airport, VIC, 3045
Phone
(613) 929-7160
Cost
$15.00/hr
Hours
24/7

ahhh really? isnt that a little extreme?


a believe that's the cost to park read the comments ! and compared to cost of solar panels for your roof inverter and batteries...

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 17:05
by unheardofinstruments
the cheap inverters from china on ebay have a very high idle current.
Solar paint isn't as efficient as the monocrystalline semi-flexible solar panels we have now but as far as covering the bits left over on the tight contours it would help.

anyone got a gas powered micro turbine aircraft alternator handy?
lightweight reliable and efficient disc turbine backup generators exist which run propane and produce electricity cheaper than the grid. I have also seen diy plans for those game enough.
would make for a nice blue flame exhaust port for night time 12hr highway cruising mode and that quiet 200,00rpm turbine sound would really get people wondering what is happening in the carpark at woolies...

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 20:39
by Richo
Does the Outlander PHEV have an "emergency" charge cable that lets you plug into a standard power point 10A/15A?

As mentioned before it sounds like a small battery to charge from solar then charge the car in intervals is probably the easiest option.
Something like 0.5-1.0kWh pack to act as the buffer would be ok.
Suggest using Lithium Titanate for the high cycle life.

Solar car cover

Posted: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 21:16
by T1 Terry
A 100Ah 4cell LYP Winston would give you roughly 1.3kwh @ 12v nom. for around $700 allowing for strapping and links etc, a W7 3,000w/9000w inverter/charger at around the $480 mark, the inverter only runs when it's actually charging so idle current isn't in the equation so in this case the cheapie unit will be all you need. The battery voltage could be dump load controlled via the inverter to charge the main battery pack with a simple charging disconnect if a cell reaches 3.6v. Then the solar could be connected direct (via an SSR for the disconnect) saving on the cost of a solar regulator and wire the solar panels in parallel.
those semi flexible 45w panels have a hot run Vmp of around 16v, even down as far as 15v in the extreme heat, but that's all you need to charge a 12v nom. li battery anyway, cover the roof and bonnet in panels and become the talking point of the town Image
When we had the 2 solar panels on the front of the kombi Margaret was often asked if it was a solar powered electric vehicle, the fact she works with mostly engineers it's a bit of worry when they asked silly questions like that but with her warped sense of humour she never corrected them, the solar powered kombi was legendary around BlueScope till I repossessed it and gave her the Ford to drive instead Image

T1 Terry

Solar car cover

Posted: Thu, 27 Nov 2014, 02:26
by crustovich
I like the way you think Gabz, but alas I think that idea would be short lived. The company actively watches for people parking their cars in the staff car park to go on holidays, so a lonely solar trailer would not pass under the radar for long I suspect. Image

Solar car cover

Posted: Thu, 27 Nov 2014, 02:42
by crustovich
Yes I was aware of the Charge stations, however, as our staff parking is supplied free (it's a little way from the airport with a shuttle bus), it would work out to be a pretty expensive to park in the short term car park for 4 days, just to get 1 charge.
I also think hogging one of the charge points for 4 days at a time may be frowned upon....

Solar car cover

Posted: Thu, 27 Nov 2014, 23:36
by crustovich
This is sounding really promising Terry!
I had a look at one of the semi flexible panels at Jaycar the other day (can't remember what wattage it was) but was surprised at how weighty it was!, 12 of those attached to a car cover would be like putting on a suit of armor!
I do have some roofracks, and am investigating making up a calapsible ally frame that would hold rigid panels on the roof and down over the windscreen. The trick will be getting enough to get our 500watts, and have the whole thing fit in the boot and not take 1/2 a day to set up!

Solar car cover

Posted: Fri, 28 Nov 2014, 02:26
by T1 Terry
This is a photo of the semi flexible panels I've been using. The total weight of the 10 x 45w panels is less that the weight of a folding 100w rigid panel. The challenge has been dispersing the heat but we seem to have that sorted now. Pity the AUD has gone into feel fall, they are just too expensive to import them at the moment as the packaging anf freight becomes more expensive than the product when trying to stay under the AUD $1000 limit. The last shipment went a mere $5 over and the costs went up $400 as everything including the freight becomes subject to GST and other charges Image

T1 Terry

Solar car cover

Posted: Fri, 28 Nov 2014, 02:36
by Astroboy
crustovich wrote: I do have some roofracks, and am investigating making up a calapsible ally frame that would hold rigid panels on the roof and down over the windscreen. The trick will be getting enough to get our 500watts, and have the whole thing fit in the boot and not take 1/2 a day to set up!

As well as making it not to easy for somebody else to put into their boot. Image

Maybe something like this? Image
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