Investigation of Grid Benefits from a Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle Using Real-World Driving Data
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Solar-powered electric vehicles (EVs) are often considered with small rooftop panels that help slightly extend the electric range. This study takes a fresh look at the potential of solar EVs with two new perspectives: firstly, the forward-looking vision of the architecture is to have high-efficiency thin-film solar cells integrated onto the steel of all upward-facing vehicle body panels, increasing the potential solar energy capture during driving and parking; secondly, this study investigates the potential grid-level benefits of solar EVs with a focus on how the reduction in required EV charging energy could extend the lifetime of distribution transformers. Logged driving data from ten people over one week is used to simulate realistic results. Overall, the use of solar EVs is shown to approximately halve the rate of transformer aging over one sunny summer week, compared to the use of non-solar EVs.
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