Hybrids with Benefits
Me and some of my classmates have been pondering hybrid "supplements". Such as high-output solar panals on the roof, protected by plexiglass of-course, that aide in fueling the batteries. Also small windmills behind the grill that suck more air into the radiator/intercooler (on turbo applications) and also turn a pulley on a generator to help fuel the batteries.
Any suggestions or storys would be gladly read.
A few comments:
1. adding solar cells to the roof won't help much since the roof's surface area isn't very big. If not done carefully, the added drag will be worse than any gains. If you want solar assist, you need a true electric vehicle and put the solar cells on the roof of your house or carport where there's a lot more surface area to collect sunlight.
2. There are already fans in front of the radiator on all models that I know of. These help cool the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) after you stop. ICE cooling is very well understood (perhaps the peak was the P-51 Mustang of WWII) and the ram air from the car's motion is sufficient while moving. Adding electric fans helps cool down the engine after you stop.
3. Windmills to fuel the batteries will cause more drag than they will help. This is direct explained by the basic laws of thermodynamics. See the section titled "Something for Nothing" in http://www.teslamotors.com/blog1/?p=24 for a better explanation.
I hope this helps.
well thanks for your imput, but i'm still convinced on the solar panals.
Go for it then! Let us know how it works out - I love being wrong on things like this.
My recommendation then is to look at SunPower's or Spectrolab's cells (Spectrolab will be a lot more expensive since they are built for satellites) since they are the most efficient available and you'll get the most energy. Make sure you provide a smooth surface above the cells so you don't interrupt the airflow over the Prius and add drag. Make sure any material that you use above the cells is transparent throughout the light spectrum so it doesn't block any of the sun's energy.
There is a southern California company that has a Prius with solar cells on its roof but I haven't seen any data on whether it helps any. I believe it is mainly a gimmick.
One way, however, that I do like regarding solar cells on a car is to run a cooling fan during the day. By circulating air through the car on hot days, the air conditioner won't have to be as strong and, hence can be more efficient. Audi offered a solar panel sunroof for a while to do this but I never saw any nor heard how they worked for real.
Best of Luck!