While I suppose a completely solar powered Porsche isn't out of the realm of possibilities, it's pretty unlikely any time soon. However, it seems that taking advantage of the sun's abundant rays to help lower emissions and supplement a Porsche's existing power supply is a possibility, or at least something being explored by various engineers at Porsche.
In a paper, originally present in 2011 at the "International scientific conference on hybrid and electric vehicles" (otherwise known as RHEVE 2011), two Porsche engineers analyze the fuel reduction potential of solar roof panels as an additional power supply. In other words, can Porsche design a roof that harnesses the sun's energy and use it to provide supplemental power to the vehicle (instead of an internal combustion engine) thus reducing fuel consumption and C02 emissions?
The paper goes on to detail the exact methodology for conducting the study, what influences the outcome (things like driver behavior and environmental conditions) the calculations used to determine the energy stored and C02 saved. It concludes by saying "the potential [for solar roof panels to support vehicle power] can be relatively high". In other words, it works.
Porsche wouldn't be the first to use solar power roof panels (Audi and Mercedes are just two of the German manufacturers who have made use of them in their sunroofs for interior ventilation) and they definitely won't be the last. To me, this is interesting for the simple reason that we see what Porsche must think about in order to innovate and stay ahead of proposed CAFE Standards.
Click here to view the presentation in its entirety.
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