University, Dubai, UAE
The eco-efficiency concept of clean propulsion vehicles aims at is simultaneously reducing the fuel consumption and environment pollutants impact (Eco-score) without decreasing the vehicle performances and other user satisfaction criteria. The automobile industry is facing tremendous changes due to the concerns over oil supplies and the cost of the fuel. Hence new technologies and developments are being developed to face these issues. Solar power has many distinct advantages such as it is available free of cost, less maintenance compared to regular vehicles and environment protection.
A comprehensive literature survey was first conducted in order to fully understand the various techniques and current developments in the usage solar power in vehicles. Based on the gaps identified in the literatures, the authors propose this innovative ideology in generating solar power by using body kit.
2. Literature Review
Electric vehicles, including both plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have been recently interested to a large extent in global markets due to their capabilities. These plug-in vehicles are able to absorb/inject power from/to the electric grid that turns them into an interesting solution for the power systems. Jamshid et.al conducted a detailed review on challenges and problems caused by charging/discharging of PHEV/PEVs in large numbers and investigated their capabilities as a solution to integrate the renewable energy sources and demand response programs in power systems 1. Electric mobility is playing an important and growing role in the context of sustainable transport sector development. Carla et. al presented the life cycle assessment of an electric hybrid car based on the technology of Lithium-ion battery for Europe and compares it to an internal combustion engine vehicle. According to a cradle-to-grave approach, manufacturing, use and disposal phases of both vehicles had been included in the assessment in order to identify the hot spots of the entire life cycles. For electric hybrid vehicles two manufacturing inventories had been analyzed and different vehicle disposal pathways had also been considered 2. Power train electrification is promoted as a potential alternative to reduce carbon intensity of transportation. Lithium-ion batteries are found to be suitable for hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles and temperature control on lithium batteries is vital for long-term performance and durability. Qian et. al provided a review on two aspects that are battery thermal model development and thermal management strategies. Thermal effects of lithium-ion batteries in terms of thermal runaway and response under cold temperatures was studied, and heat generation methods are discussed with aim of performing accurate battery thermal analysis. In addition, current battery thermal management strategies utilized by automotive suppliers were reviewed to identify the imposing challenges and critical gaps between research and practice 3. Shaaban et. al introduced an online coordination approach for PHEVs charging in smart hybrid AC/DC distribution systems. The proposed approach includes consideration of PHEV owners’ requirements, PHEV batteries’ characteristics, and hybrid distribution system limitations. Also, a sliding window concept is introduced to facilitate managing the PHEV charging and the system interlinking converters in real-time 4. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are one of the most viable technologies to achieve the goals of energy saving and environmental protection before a breakthrough in battery technology and fuel cell technology. Pei et. al presented latest developing trends in energy management strategies of HEVs to improve the performance of HEVs based on quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis, covering driving cycle recognition/prediction algorithms, integrated multi-objective, coordinated optimization energy management strategies, good balance between computation complexity and optimization performance of energy management strategies, fair and credible evaluation system of energy management strategies5.
3.1 Solar panels
Solar panels are designed according to the vehicle, based on the appearance of the car after installation. Advancement in the field of solar technology has helped us to coin different types of solar panels which can be easily installed for cheap price. These solar panels can be rolled/folded up when the use is over. This will allow the user to change the look of his car by easily removing and rolling up the solar panel into the boot of the car. Placing a glass layer over the solar panel that can magnify the intensity of light from the sun would help to gain more input and hence increase the efficiency of the solar panel.
3.1.1 Transparent solar panels
These type of panels basically consist of thin layer of silicon dots that absorbs shorter wave length of light and re emits as higher wave length, which bounce in the window pane (total internal reflection) and reach the tiny solar cells at the edge of the panels that converts light energy to electrical energy. This technology can be used to replace tinted windows or panoramic roof of cars. Hence helping to save money on window tints and helping to make the car look better.
3.1.2 Solar panel sheets
These sheets can be used to make vinyl’s or wrap a car. This technology helps in increasing the physical beauty of a car. The car wrapped in dark color will give aesthetic look. It would have a futuristic finish to it which comes as a plus point.
FOLDABLE SOLAR PANEL
EASY TO INSTALL AND PLACE ON THE CAR AS A BODY KIT
TRANSITION OF LIGHT THROUCH SOLAR CELL
3.2 Engine Control Unit
The Engine Control Unit (ECU) helps to switch between solar power and the conventional power from fuel according to situation
3.3 Induction Motor
The current obtained from solar panel can be used to generate mechanical power from induction motor.
Inverter converts the DC current from the batteries to AC input for the induction motor.
Lithium batteries are used to store power generated from solar panel and provides the power for later use. A DC source battery pack is used in the body kit to store and use electric power. This DC source battery power is converted in to AC using an inverter. The battery pack is just a collection of common lithium ion batteries that we use in daily life. The cells are placed in a combination of series and parallel to produce the power required to run the electric car. There would be approximately 7000 cells in the battery pack. This is placed close to the ground and will help in reducing the vehicles center of gravity, hence increasing center of gravity and structural rigidity to the vehicle.
SOURCE O STORE AND USE SOLAR ENERGY. INCREASES CENTER OF GRAVITY
This body kit would be highly beneficial for most of the 4×4 cars in UAE. On an average, a 4×4 car deliver’s 7 km/l. taking the reality view into deeper thoughts, let’s consider a GCC Spec Nissan Patrol as an example.
The car consists of 140 l fuel tank which would cost about AED 280 to fill (current fuel price AED 2.01/l). According to the usage of the car, the millage of the car would vary. According to the standard tests, a Nissan Patrol SE Platinum (v8 5.6L) should deliver 5 km/l. Hence, on a full tank, it should run about 700 km. But the owner would have to struggle a lot in order to get at least 600 km on a full tank.
Let’s brake down the reasons why a big engine such as the one in Nissan Patrol would consume more petrol.
1) In a real case scenario, a person traveling to and from Dubai would have to face traffic. The duration of the traffic would vary, but let’s assume a person would face an average of 10 minutes traffic in total. The person is not only losing his time, but he is also losing his fuel in a rate more than how much he would have lost while the car is running.
2) Idling for a while also consumes fuel as the air conditioner and other electric components of the car would be working and the power required for is from the fuel.
3) Inside city cruising consist of low speed transportation, which in turn refrains the gears to shift to low gears and run the car in high gears and there by consuming more fuel.
These three cases alone can reduce the mileage of a car considerably and increase the transportation expenditure.
With Nissan Patrol as an example, it would take about 1 full tank of fuel to run for a week.
That rounds up to almost AED 1,500 for fuel alone for a month (considering that the car would only travel 700 km in a week, doesn’t go beyond a single city limit and no long trip travels are planned)
In order reduce the fuel consumption and carbon emission impact on the environment, the solar powered body kit comes into action. When the body kit is installed, the appearance would be dashing if we choose to go for the solar panoramic roof and solar windows instead of a normal tinted window. A fully solar sheet wrapped Nissan Patrol is also an alternative.
The battery pack underneath gives more stability for the car and hence gives advantage during off road. Moving on to the main matter in focus. The solar powered engine would