One of the biggest challenges for EV makers and EV owners is keeping the vehicle charged when away from the charging grid. A French company called Gazelle is building EV’s that many will find not particularly attractive. Looks of the vehicle aside, the company has a very interesting EV charging car cover that automatically deploys and automatically puts itself away.
The car cover itself is a tarp that uses Armor ASCA organic PV film modules. That tech is based on semiconductor organic polymers in the form of thin layers deposited via a coating process on a flexible film. Armor says that the flexible solar panels can be folded at least 50,000 times before losses occur.
Armor also notes that the solar film itself could be applied directly to the body of the vehicle, panoramic roof, or windows. The solar cells promise to be 30 times lighter than other PV technologies on the market. In the not so attractive Gazelle EV, the car covered with the flexible solar panels integrated is slurped into the rear bumper area of the car when not needed.
Guide cables keep the car cover taught and appear to slide through the panel gaps running from the hood to the windshield pillars, and across the roof of the car, down the hatch, to where the retractable cover stores. Unfortunately, there is no indication of how much power the retractable car cover would be able to add to an EV.
As for the Gazelle, the manufacturer says that the vehicle is extremely efficient thanks in part to its ultra-light materials and design. Efficiency is claimed to be in the area of 70 watts-hours per kilometer. That would indicate a driving range of roughly 8 miles per kilowatt-hour.