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Sun Roof

Charge your car from your luggage rack...
  (+15, -1)(+15, -1)
(+15, -1)
  [vote for,

folded up, your car's solar panels fit inside the Big Mac looking storage on the roof of your car. Unfolded, they look like the petals of a flower. As in many dynamic solar panels, small motors insure that the panels are oriented towards the sun for maximum efficiency. This is designed to be used while parked, not in motion...
dbsousa, Aug 17 2005

Sun Roof Illustrated http://www.geocitie...bsousa1/sunroof.JPG
A quick and easy illustration... [dbsousa, Aug 17 2005]

(??) Similar http://www.global-m...om/home/hppanel.htm
Nice and professional... [pooduck, Aug 17 2005]

Flexible solar cells http://www.newscien...rticle.ns?id=dn6802
...well, a news item about them. [squigbobble, Aug 21 2005]

Modified Toyota Prius http://www.treehugg...solar-powered_t.php
Solar cells on roof help this hybrid vehicle get 10% better mileage. [krelnik, Aug 22 2005]

Been done for years http://nasc2005.ame...solarchallenge.org/
Solar Car [sophocles, Aug 22 2005]

The Big Mac http://www.orsracks....com/thule-682.html
These guys have already built the shell... [dbsousa, Aug 23 2005]


       An impressive sight, to be sure. The glare might put off passing drivers though. Or at least the image of a large flower-like protruberance from an oversized burger case.   

       Still, I like it [+]
pooduck, Aug 17 2005

       I edited the original to clear up pooduck's misconception...
dbsousa, Aug 17 2005

       I would have liked this idea better if it had a name like "Petal Power", or "Flower Power", or even Sun(flower) Solar System.
jurist, Aug 17 2005

       I like it, but why round? Why not "active" all the time. Many cars have luggage/ sport racks... build the solar panels into such an apparatus, or as optional equipment for your Thule system. Whilst parked, additional panel space could fold out to amp it up.
dalan, Aug 17 2005

       Round because it looks cool, not active all the time because you want to aim the panels at the sun for maximum efficiency, which would reduce aerodynamicity (did I just coin that word?)
dbsousa, Aug 18 2005

       Indeed u did, [dbsousa]. A far more practical, though more boring way to do this would be to use a flexible thin-film solar cell which can be layered over the roof of the car and lacquered down over the paint. They don't put out much energy but they're cheap and ideal for the job. This would also be perfect for trickle charging the battery in a hybrid car to extend the range it can cover before it has to start consuming fuel.
squigbobble, Aug 21 2005

       The practical improvement my admittedly half-baked idea offers over a flat roof configuration is the ability to change the angle of the panel. panels on a flat roof are only properly oriented for maximum efficiency at noon. Also, putting this device in one of those Big Mac-like containers makes this available as an after market device   

       I have edited my original idea to make this advantage clearer.
dbsousa, Aug 21 2005

       Awesome. Love the image of car parks looking like rows of massive flowers, all turned to the sun...
moomintroll, Aug 21 2005

       Just put them flat on the roof and park on a steep hill so they face the sun. Then go out every hour and move it a few degrees. :)
discontinuuity, Aug 22 2005

       I hate collapsing, but this is the best idea I have read in so long. (db, will be waiting to see you show up on a Sunday at the Stop 'n Drop, as you poof out your solar breller, and all the girlies go aaahh.)
blissmiss, Aug 22 2005

       Oh, sorry, Bliss. I have moved far away from that grocery store. These days I'm poppin' my top in the Litchfield Hills.
dbsousa, Aug 22 2005

       Damn I wish I'd posted this idea when I had it. My version is particular to pickups, esp. those with camper tops, but still... Buns for thinking as well as I do!
elhigh, Aug 22 2005

       Litchfield Hills from New Britain...ahh won the lottery eh?
blissmiss, Aug 22 2005

       [dbsousa] how big is this 'Big Mac' that would be on my car? And is there a way to remove the entire Big Mac system on days I don't want it up there?
sleeka, Aug 22 2005

       Solar panels on a car roof = baked. Ever heard of the "solar car" challenge?   

       The only new pieces here are:   

       1. Increased wind resistance, likely enough to offset any solar gains [-]   

       2. Unfold when parked to get more surface area. But, most of us park close to walls / other cars, etc. And, what about the inevitable person who drives while keeping this open? Egads, the safety issues. And if you're just going to park next to your house, it'd be better to mount the panels on your roof than to cart around the extra weight on your car. [-].   

       3. Active orientation to point towards the sun. The only [+] new part, but I think the extra weight of hardware & motors, needed to do this may offset any gains. Again, it wouldn't make sense until we have solar panels on the roof of the garage, house, & office.
sophocles, Aug 22 2005

       The idea is not "Solar Cells on a Car Roof", but "Packing those Cells in a Standard Container" These Luggage Rack Cargo Baskets are sold in standard sizes, and I have half baked the panels so they fit inside an aerodynamic container when not in use. In other words...   

       1. The Lugage cargo dudes have done all the work to minimise wind resistance. I am just using their work to make mine easier.   

       2. Most of us park in a parking lot 8 hours a day at work during the sunniest part of the day. I want to use that time to trickle charge my car. and until everyone has one, my Sun Roof shouldn't interfere with anyone else's parking spot. In fact it should shade my lot neigbor's car, keeping his car cooler. As far as driving with the Sunflower open, driving with the hood up is also dangerous, but we can't save the world from idiots...   

       3. If the flower is balanced well enough, it should not require much energy to reorient it.   

       And Bliss, I hardly hit the Lotto, I'm in Torrington, where the richest people in CT buy their bulk groceries...
dbsousa, Aug 23 2005


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