Tesla on a 15,000 km solar-powered road trip. The running cost? Almost nil

Making use of printed solar panels that are claimed to be cost-effective, a team of Aussie scientists are ready to push the boundaries of sustainable
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University of Newcastle Centre for Organic Electronics facility manager and project manager for Charge Around Australia Ben Vaughan, University of Newcastle research associate Matthew Bergin, Charge Around Australia project lead and inventor of printed solar panels Paul Dastoor and chief designer Michael Dickinson are pictured near a printed solar panel and a Tesla car, in Gosforth, Australia. (REUTERS)
University of Newcastle Centre for Organic Electronics facility manager and project manager for Charge Around Australia Ben Vaughan, University of Newcastle research associate Matthew Bergin, Charge Around Australia project lead and inventor of printed solar panels Paul Dastoor and chief designer Michael Dickinson are pictured near a printed solar panel and a Tesla car, in Gosforth, Australia.

Looking at pushing the boundaries of modern-day mobility, a team of Australian scientists have taken it upon themselves to drive a Tesla electric vehicle (EV) on a 15,100 km road trip with printed solar panels fueling the car. Potentially, this could not only mean that there won't be any running cost involved but there may not even be a need to periodically stop and plug in the Tesla EV for a charge, negating range-related anxieties.

Reuters reports that the team of scientists from the University of Newcastle are looking at testing the endurance of the solar panels while also studying the possible application of such a system for other uses. The trip will see 18 printed solar panels, each 59 feet long, rolled beside the Tesla to charge it when required. "This is actually an ideal test bed to give us information about how we would go about using and powering technology in other remote locations, for example, in space," Paul Dastoor, the inventor of the printed solar panels, was quoted as saying in the report.

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The solar panels are printed on commercial printers that were initially used to print wine lablels. The lightweight, laminated PET plastic is also touted to be affordable with the costing at around $10 per square metre. But while the printed solar panel may be the main focus for the scientists, Dastoor says his team also wants fellow Australians to consider EVs. As such, the team is planning to visit as many as 70 schools during their 84-day trip in order to let young children check out the car and the technology being tested.

Little wonder then that the Charge Around Australia project is promising to make big news and could be a game-changer in showcasing the future of mobility once the road trip starts come September.

First Published Date: 20 Apr 2022, 09:54 AM IST
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