Sun2Wheel project aims for solar EV charging

11 April 2017

11 April 2017

A stubborn problem for electric vehicles (EV) is that while they produce no tailpipe emissions, their green credentials can be undermined by the power plants that generate the electricity they use. Eco enthusiasts in sunnier climes may turn to generating their own solar power to charge up their EVs, by installing solar panels on their roof or garage.  

However, EVs are often in use during the day when the sun is at its peak and when they are charging at home at night, it is dark outside. Head of Swiss e-mobility specialist Protoscar, Marco Piffaretti, aims to solve this with his new project, Sun2Wheel. 

Unlike solar cars from 30 years ago with solar panels strapped to their backs, the secret to Sun2Wheel is its buffer storage – ideally a secondhand electric car battery that can store the sunlight collected during the day to charge up the plugin car at night. 

This buffer storage is connected to the rooftop solar panels via an intelligent yellow control box – the heart of Sun2Wheel’s package – which contains software developed by Piffaretti’s team that manages the energy transfer process. 

Sun2Wheel sends high-frequency signals to the domestic grid-linked power supply that allows the user to avoid peak-period tariffs and use flexible tariffs instead. If this goes to Protoscar, the Sun2Wheel control unit can drive the domestic power supply system itself. Depending on its allowed level of access, Protoscar can offer its solar customers different leasing rates. With a high level of Sun2Wheel access (up to full control) the rates are lower, but higher if the Sun2Wheel control unit has no access. 

Protoscar believes its energy regulation will be popular, as it says the wishes of the customer and energy supplier (namely, low prices through a lower network load) are closely aligned. For example, a plant at EVTEC in Lucerne, central Switzerland, uses a high-speed electric charger and Sun2Wheel to avoid paying high peak power rates to the energy supplier. 

While still in development, interested parties can sign up at the Protoscar website.