Tesla Model 3 has a glass roof as an option, and it is actually cheaper than the sunroof. But now with new solar roof technology from Panasonic, Tesla might embed it as an option for their Model 3.
According to Big Boy Genius, Elon Musk’s tweets back in November 2016 were overly optimistic. A solar roof capable of harnessing the sun’s power and charging the care as it drives is certainly fascinating, but that kind of a design is far from practical given the current state of solar technology. Tesla Model’s roof is only big enough for a solar panel that could barely manage to add on an extra mile or two of range per day, which is essentially nothing.
But that’s all about to change. Clear Technica reported that integration of solar cells into the consumer vehicles is not that far off. Panasonic has already managed to develop a solar roof for the Japanese version of the Toyota Prius. The company claims that the solar roof is capable of generating up to 180 watts. Supposedly, the solar roof can provide the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid with 3.7 miles of range a day when parked outside.
It is safe to assume that Tesla might acquire Panasonic’s new solar technology and incorporate into their vehicle roofs. Panasonic made a press release in which they stated that the company is looking to expand the availability of its automotive solar technology. Tesla Model 3 might be the perfect opportunity for both companies. Panasonic and Tesla have very close ties. They planned to work on solar cells after Tesla acquired SolarCity. The collaboration seemed oriented towards the home solar panel market.
However, a lot more work still needs to be done before solar roofs become a game-changer, and an add-on worth paying for. In this current state, Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid would need about a full week to go from empty to full charge via a solar roof alone.