Tesla Model Y Powered By Solar Panels On Its Roof — Smart Move?

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An intrepid DIY Tesla Model Y owner has done what many dream of doing — directly powered his Tesla with solar panels. That’s right, not happy with simply powering his car with house rooftop solar panels, he’s doing it with a solar panel array on the roof of his crossover.

The news comes from reddit, where the owner posted about his personal innovation. He noted that he had spent two years developing this. It is a 2000-watt to 4000-watt solar array that can fold or unfold as needed. “I can expand these solar panels with ease, and contract them when I want to start driving.”

But how much does this really help charge the car? The answer is: a lot! He says he can get 20 miles to 60 miles of extra range a day from it. If you estimate 40 miles a day, that’s 14,600 miles a year. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), the average American drives 13,476 miles a year. If he’s average (he may not be), he could be getting all — or at least most — of his electricity from these rooftop solar panels.

Looking to help others and make a difference, this solar-powered Tesla driver is offering the goods to anyone who wants the same. “I’ve also decided to put all the 3D printed parts required to build this online at dartsolar.com — if you want me to build you one, or if you want to get the free 3D parts and the blueprints for this build enter your email in the green box on the link.”

He also provides some detail on how he was able to get so many watts of solar power capacity onto the roof of his car: “The reason I can pack so many solar panels is because I am using telescoping carbon fiber tubes as my mechanism of expansion and contraction, as opposed to mechanical sliders. This allows me to pack 4000 watts of solar on a Tesla, without going over the max roof weight capacity of 165 lbs.”

With “Beta1” done, he is on to developing “Beta2.” This newer version will replace the wood framing with carbon fiber and will lower the array from 11 inches above the roof to just 6 inches above the roof, which will help with aerodynamics, no doubt. He’s also exploring DC-to-DC charging and hot wiring.

You can find more pics on his reddit post, and can of course ask him any questions you have over there.

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