Armor is a French company that manufactures thin film solar panels. One of its products, called ASCA, uses semiconductor compounds based on organic polymers printed on flexible films. Its flexibility makes ASCA mountable on curved surfaces, which traditional solar panels cannot. During testing, it can be raised and lowered by 50,000 without loss of performance.
According to the company, ASCA weighs only about 450 grams per square meter. To put it in perspective, it’s about 30 times lighter than other technologies. A piece the size of a sheet of paper weighs only 30 grams, about the same as 6 sheets of paper of the same size.
The company recently introduced a car cover with ASCA thin-film solar panels attached to a Gazelle electric car.
There is a lot of interest in adding solar panels to electric cars to extend their range, but Armor is the first to place them in a car cover rather than in the car itself. The company says its ASCA thin-film products can also be incorporated directly into a car’s surface. ASCA are resistant to high pressure and impact.
Thin-film solar panels cover an area of 4 square meters, enough to provide additional power to the vehicle and increase its range up to 15 kilometers per day, with the car exposed to the sun for 8 hours. The company has set itself the goal of gaining 48 km of range per day in 3 years.
“With the retractable sun visor, the Gazelle has been completely designed to reduce the carbon footprint during travel,” says an Armor spokesperson. “The objective of the ASCA organic photovoltaic film is to make the transport of tomorrow more autonomous and consume less energy.
Is a solar car cover the perfect fit for all electric vehicle owners? Of course not. If you park in a garage at home or at work, it won’t be of much use to you. And obviously, it cannot be used in places where it can be stolen. But it’s a step forward for the electric vehicle revolution, which is a good thing.