SOLAR POWERED TRUCKS AND CARS: THE DREAM IS ALMOST REAL
Accessories will be first application
With the announcement that Franchise Holdings International’s Worksport subsidiary (FNHI:OTCQB) would soon be introducing TerraVis, a mobile panel and solar generator system for the light truck market, there is renewed focus on solar power for vehicles of all kinds. For years, the solar-powered car (or truck) has been a fond but faint hope for the future. Just a few years ago, doubters said this concept would impractical and maybe impossible. A Toyota Prius, for example, with a solar roof needed a traditional battery charging system. Only four miles were added to its range. The critics were not impressed. But that was then.
Toyota now has fitted out an experimental Prius with a fresh rooftop solar kit to explore the limits of sun-powered road travel. Unlike the previous solar panels to adorn its plug-in hybrid, the new array will be capable of charging the vehicle while it is on the move, a feature that is hoped to give range and efficiency a significant boost. Hyundai has progressed a little further and has launched its first ever car with a solar roof charging system. In a recent announcement, the company said that the technology would be used on the latest version of its Sonata Hybrid and then introduced to other vehicles over the coming years.
In Europe, the ambitious and recently revealed Lightyear One EV is being developed by members of Solar Team Eindhoven who won the World Solar Challenges in 2013, 2015 and 2017. It can leverage five square meters of solar cells embedded in the roof and hood to power the car for up to 20,000 km of clean travel per year.
German manufacturer Sono Motors is taking $135,000 pre-orders for its Sion solar-powered car, with the vehicles due on Europe’s roads as early as 2021. Developed in Germany, it is being produced in Sweden at a former Saab plant.
Even trains benefit from solar power. Australia’s Byron Bay Railroad Company has restored a derelict heritage train. It repaired three kilometres of railway line and a bridge and reinvigorated and consequently preserved a section of an out of action rail corridor to provide a heritage rail service linking two key Byron Bay centres. At least 73% of the energy generated from solar panels on the train and train storage shed are fed into the grid. The remainder is used to operate the train.
Indian Railways debuted trains with solar panels on their roofs to power on-board services such as lights and fans. Trains travel on a fixed route and can be quickly recharged at each stop using electricity generated by static solar panels. For that reason, they have been the target of several renewable energy projects.
And in the electric car market, Tesla, the bellwether company, delivered a record breaking 95,200 cars in Q2. Renewable energy sources really are coming into their own, said FNHI and Worksport CEO Steven Rossi.
According to Rossi, solar power offers true independence for light trucks. It is low maintenance; no moving parts, adopts well to 12-volt trucks power systems. It’s quiet, there are no deadly fumes. It also weighs very little, is easy to use, and doesn’t take up valuable storage space like a generator. It can recharge tools and all kinds of other equipment and provide reserve power for a truck. All of these reasons are why Worksport has developed Alpha TerraVis, one of the company’s most innovative tonneau covers.
The name of Worksport’s TerraVis, a patented and trademarked mobile panel and solar generator system completely unique in both its design and application, is derived from the Latin terminology for earth (terra) and force (vis). TerraVis will encompass a line of innovative and powerful solar generator integrations for trucks, making the connection between earth and force a vital component of the vision and energy behind TerraVis. The very first of its kind, this brand-new solar generator, a breakthrough innovation, aims to affordably modernize and enhance today’s trucks while working towards carbon neutrality.
“The TerraVis system has the potential to effectively off-grid trucks, allowing them to capture and utilize solar energy whether they have been engineered with electric capabilities or not,” says Rossi. “We are creating a system that will bridge a substantial gap in the current market—a gap between every-day truck owners and the future’s most promising technologies.”
“The TerraVis can produce a total of 440 watts of electric current through its solar panels,” explained Rossi. “The panels are covered in plexiglass and are serviceable. They can be removed, repaired, replaced, or added.”
As a four-fold design, with a locking hinge and full bed access, and a built-in back rack system, the Alpha can deploy and collapse with ease. In its collapsed form, it is held in place up against the bedside closest to the cab, where it sits out of the way to allow complete rear visibility. The built-in utility tracks keep the panels from coming out of place during deployment and retraction, too.
“Worksport is firmly a part of the solar power revolution,” Rossi said. “We intend to take our place with the best companies, only in our niche, the huge light truck market, where just about everyone needs a tonneau cover. We feel that once introduced, the TerraVis solar truck bed cover will revolutionize the market.”
Yes, solar applications for cars, light trucks and even trains have arrived—and their future is very bright, especially at Worksport.