It sounds like a Utopian concept: drivers being able to power their vehicles simply by leaving them out in the sun. Even tech leaders know their bold visions have been skeptical. In 2017, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called it a fantasy to put solar panels on cars, stating that the surface area available for panels, and the amount of time many cars spend parked in garages, argued against pursuing the design.
“The least efficient place to put solar is on the car,” Musk said at the 2017 National Governors Association meeting.
That has not stopped Toyota or Hyundai. Both automakers are debuting solar panels on their electric vehicles to add an additional charge, while auto start-ups are experimenting with even bolder solar panel designs.