© Gazelle Tech
The idea is simple, but putting it into practice is particularly complicated. The young Bordeaux start-up Gazelle Tech has yet found a partner to carry out the crazy project of a cover of solar panels which deploys itself, when the vehicle stops.
With this innovation, Gazelle Tech is preparing to market the first energy-autonomous electric car. A recent fundraising will allow it to carry out the crash tests necessary for its approval.
A flexible photovoltaic film for increased autonomy
To achieve the feat of deploying solar coverage on the vehicle, Gazelle Tech has partnered with Nantes-based manufacturer ARMOR, a specialist in flexible photovoltaic panels.
The cover deploys and stores automatically with a single press of the vehicle's remote control. The ASCA film, tested by the experts of the company, is printed in a very thin layer on the protective sheet with an ink based on organic semiconductor polymer.
It is a priori capable of executing 50,000 winding cycles without loss of performance, a resistance necessary for daily use.
Stopping downtime for most vehicles
The solar cover would bring, in one day, about thirty kilometers of autonomy to the SUV of Gazelle Tech, all at the touch of a button on the remote control.
According to the manufacturer's estimates, this would currently cover up to 6,200 km per year in France and Gazelle Tech plans to double this distance by 2022.
Knowing that on average, a car in France travels 13,000 km per year and spends 90% of its time stationary, the idea is rather promising.
Gazelle Tech's light SUV: 180 km of autonomy
Gazelle Tech is a start-up created by Gaël LAVAUD. This engineer spent eight years at the head of Renault's "Research" department. With his team, he has thus developed a light electric vehicle, which requires only four hours of recharging on a household outlet to offer up to 180 km of autonomy.
Its manufacture is based on the use of composite materials, and its weight is due to a battery half lighter compared to that of an equivalent vehicle. This combination, combined with the use of photovoltaic panels, makes it possible to reduce the weight of the SUV, without compromising autonomy.
Note that the start-up targets both the European market and the emerging markets where a thermal engine should also be offered in the future.