Tesla Cybertruck’s Solar Panel Tonneau Cowl involves life in new patent
The Tesla Cybertruck’s many features now appear as patents the automaker has filed with the U.S. Patent Office, and one of the most notable is the tonneau or truck bed cover. While the retractable design of the tonneau offers owners convenience at the push of a button, it protects all goods or loads that the drivers store in the massive bed of the Cybertruck. However, the design now suggests even greater versatility and usefulness as the patent describes potential use as a solar panel that gives the all-electric truck range by sensing solar energy.
In Tesla’s newly published patent “Integrated tarpaulin for a vehicle”, several inventors submit their ideas and their design for the fully mechanical tarpaulin of the Cybertruck. The tarpaulin runs along a series of channels in the truck bed and provides protection for any cargo stored in the back of the vehicle. Whether it’s tools or luggage, the Tesla tarpaulin gives Tesla owners the ability to protect their belongings without having to buy expensive aftermarket comforters that other trucks don’t. The retractable tarpaulin is shown in the following figures.
“To reduce the possibility of such damage, many truck owners install aftermarket truck bed covers that cover the bed of their truck,” says the patent. “However, aftermarket truck bed covers like this may not only be difficult to install, but also not exactly match the specifications of the truck beds of various truck models. If a truck bed cover is not properly seated, rain or snow can leak through the gaps between the truck bed cover and the walls around the truck bed and cause cargo damage. In addition, not only are many aftermarket truck bed covers difficult to install and inconvenient to use, but they also take up space in the truck beds and reduce the overall utility of the trucks. “
The tonneau in a revolutionary new design can also charge the vehicle’s battery thanks to 110 solar cells that are electrically connected to a photovoltaic charging system and a battery. “If the tarpaulin is used to cover the bed and the solar cells that make up the slats are facing the sun, the battery in the electric vehicle can be charged by solar cells,” says the patent.
While solar panels on an electric vehicle were seen as a possibility in the past, the idea was never realized due to ineffectiveness. Since a car does not initially have much surface area, the charge contribution from solar panels would be minimal and extremely clear and favorable weather conditions would be required to give the vehicle an effective additional range. However, just days after the Cybertruck unveiled in November 2019, CEO Elon Musk hinted that Tesla would add an option to add solar power that could generate up to 15 miles per day. Musk also suggested “pop-out solar blades” that could produce an additional 30-40 miles per day, which for some owners could reduce the need to stop on a compressor.
Will be an option to add solar power producing 15 miles per day, possibly more. Would love if I was self-employed. Adding foldout solar wings would produce 30 to 40 miles per day. Average miles per day in the US is 30.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2019
The tonneau would be entirely covered with solar cells, and the patent claims that when the “truck bed cover is in a closed position, it is configured to charge the battery pack, with the truck bed cover closed position allowing the variety of solar electrical power Cells to face a sun. “
Musk also pointed out the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof of a potential Tesla delivery truck with Joe Rogan in a podcast interview earlier this year. Musk said the van would be an inexpensive design because of its “large, flat area” and “solar could make a little more sense”. Because the tonneau is flat and covers a considerable surface area, it has the potential to be as effective as Musk’s idea for the van.
The full patent document is available below.
Tesla Cybertruck Tonneau Solar patent by Joey Klender on Scribd