Last year, Arizona-based Monarch power released a flower-shaped solar power collector called the Solar Lotus. This ground-based device has petals that open and close and convert sunlight into both electric and thermal power.
Now the company is talking about a mobile version, which would be mounted on a car. The device is comprised of 18 lightweight panels that unfold into a flower shape. Inventor Joseph Hui mounted it to his Tesla Roadster to show how it would work. Presumably, the flower-shaped device would open up only when the car was parked.
Writers at Grist and Earth Techling said Monarch was launching a Kickstarter project to fund this concept. But a video promoting the technology is marked private. Before it was marked private, Earth Techling quoted it: “Lotus Mobile follows the sun on two axes, giving 30 percent more power than rooftop solar panels. It’s also less expensive because of significantly less structural support, since 70 percent of the traditional panel system cost is related to architectural placement.”
The Facebook page for Monarch Power still shows an image of Lotus Mobile and there are several entries that mention it as well as the Kickstarter program. But when it will be launched is unknown.
The concept is interesting, though. It would certainly alleviate all of that range anxiety preventing would-be electric car owners from being actual electric car owners. But a smaller, more compact version of the Lotus Mobile would be preferred, if you ask me. This one seems a little cumbersome and where does one store such a device, particularly in a Tesla Roadster?