New Solar Battery Charger for Electric Vehicles Follows the Sun

Interesting Engineering has a first look at a new original solar battery charger for electric vehicles at the Maker Faire Rome 2018.

According to the High-level findings of the Electric Vehicle Outlook 2018 report, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to be increasing from a record 1.1 million worldwide in 2017, to 11 million in 2025 and then surging to 30 million in 2030 as they become cheaper to make than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.

China is expected to lead this transition, with sales accounting for almost 50 percent of the global EV market in 2025.

The global renewable energy market is expected to reach an estimated $2,152,903 million by 2025. The solar energy market alone is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 13.4 percent, in terms of revenue, during the forecast period. In addition, the sustainable development of smart cities is supported by solar energy.

New solar power battery charger for electric vehicles follows the sun

Combining a passion for ecology and sustainable energy, Ilenia Zambelli and Fabrizio Marcoccia have designed and created a handmade aesthetically appealing solar charger prototype for electric vehicles.

“We built the solar charger thinking about sunflowers. As the flower, it is made of petals and is able to follow the sun to maximize its yield. It uses an algorithm that combines azimuth and zenith,” Ilenia Zambelli told Interesting Engineering at the Maker Faire in Rome.

The solar azimuth angle is the azimuth angle of the Sun’s position. This horizontal coordinate defines the Sun’s relative direction along the local horizon. The solar zenith angle, or its complementary angle solar elevation, defines the Sun’s apparent altitude.

The solar position algorithm obtains solar position variables – solar zenith angle, solar azimuth angle, Sun-Earth distance to calculate the solar position at a given place.

To maximize the use of the solar power the algorithm calculates the solar azimuth.In most of the solar photovoltaic (PV) energy calculator tools, an azimuth value of zero is facing the equator in both northern and southern hemispheres.

According to Ilenia Zambelli, the solar charger for electric vehicles can be customized for different kinds of batteries and be used to power electric bikes, motorcycles, even cars, and boats.

Innovation takes over Rome

Placing the city of Rome at the center of the debate on innovation, the Maker Faire Rome is organized by InnovaCamera, a Special Agency of the Rome Chamber of Commerce.

Maker Faire Rome is the European Edition of Maker Faire which showcases invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. It’s a celebration of the Maker Movement.

Electric vehicles and solar power

Currently, electric vehicles can travel for 60-100 km before recharge. “With this charger, you will be free to charge your vehicle everywhere and using free energy,” Ilenia Zambelli said.

The prototype of this universal solar battery charger has no limits. According to the makers, it is universal because it can be adapted to any type of vehicle and battery. Depending on the battery capacity, this solar battery charger can charge in two and a half hours.

“The particularity is that the vehicle can recharge both in motion and when it’s stationary thanks to the particular algorithm that uses Azimuth and Zenith and follows the sun,” Ilenia Zambelli told the Italian press.

The future is solar

The team has recently filed a patent for their invention and is currently looking for partners, sponsors, manufacturers, or enterprises interested in supporting their project to start a collaboration and mass production.


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