Exploring the Concept of a Solar-Battery Car with Single and Double Solar-Trailers

Najib A. Kasti
Solar energy is a clean source of energy that is available throughout the year in some parts of the globe. For solar energy to be significant, a large area is needed to harvest solar radiation. One type of machine that attempts to use solar energy, in addition to battery power, is the solar car. Solar cars, used in international competitions, are based on building an efficient system on all fronts (mechanical, aerodynamic, solar panels, batteries, etc.) in order to achieve high speeds and the shortest travel times, while saving consumable energy. At the other extreme of this spectrum of solar-battery cars is a specialized class that attempts to minimize the use of battery power and maximize acquired solar energy. One way to accomplish this is by increasing the size of the solar array. This paper explores the possible use of solar trailers to increase solar power input. The resulting excess power, derived from solar trailers, may be used to drive accessories that may be life necessities in some parts of the world. At least three variables determine the operating boundaries of solar cars: the net energy produced, the speed of the car and the stability requirements, such as dynamics control and sliding. This paper analyzes these three variables and how they affect the possible use of one/two solar-trailers with solar battery cars. First, we provide an example that compares the energy consumed by a standalone car and a car with one or two solar-trailers, when traveling along a specific track at different speeds. Next, we analyze the stability of the lateral dynamics using a line model of the car-trailer system at different speeds and various car configurations. Finally, we evaluate the requirements for ground adhesion when travelling along a curved path.
Solar Energy; Solar Car; Solar Trailers
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