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Batteries in solar-powered cars

  1. Sep 17, 2014 #1
    How can the batteries used in solar-powered cars be different from the normal ones used in combustion cars?

    Also, do both of them involve electrolysis to convert chemical to electrical energy?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2014 #2

    mfb

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    Batteries in solar-powered cars have to power the car, batteries in conventional cars do not. All other differences follow from that important point, and you can look up the details (which type is used and so on) in the internet.
     
  4. Sep 17, 2014 #3
    Okay. In addition to the batteries, motors come in handy in running a vehicle by drawing the electrical energy from batteries and converting them into mechanical energy, right?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  5. Sep 17, 2014 #4

    mfb

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    A car without a motor won't work...
    But the power source for the motor depends on the type of car.
     
  6. Sep 17, 2014 #5
    Yeah but I'm just talking in general.
    So I'm writing the general steps below of how a solar car works (briefly):
    Solar panel absorb solar energy
    PV arrays convert it into electrical energy
    Electrical energy is used to charge up the batteries
    Energy from battery will be drawn to convert into mechanical energy to make the vehicle run

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  7. Sep 17, 2014 #6

    mfb

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    That is correct.
     
  8. Sep 18, 2014 #7
    By the way, I'm wondering if OHM's law can be used in any of the processes I stated above?
     
  9. Sep 18, 2014 #8

    CWatters

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    The rules for solar powered car races may or may not allow onboard batteries to be precharged before the race. This may effect your choice of battery.
     
  10. Sep 18, 2014 #9
    I'm just considering solar-powered car for my project. And I was confused about the battery it uses. I think deep cycle batteries are used in such cars but I want to assure if they use electrolysis to convert chemical to electrical energy like the normal batteries?
     
  11. Sep 18, 2014 #10

    mfb

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    Define "can be used". It can be useful to calculate some things you might be interested in, but we don't know that based on your very general descriptions.
     
  12. Sep 18, 2014 #11
    Is there any principle that can be used to find the power a solar car can generate?
     
  13. Sep 18, 2014 #12

    mfb

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    Incoming solar radiation on the cells * efficiency of the solar cells?
     
  14. Sep 18, 2014 #13
    Which principle defines this formula?
     
  15. Sep 18, 2014 #14

    mfb

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    The definition of efficiency (and common sense). Please try to find answers to questions on your own first, especially if they are that basic.
     
  16. Sep 18, 2014 #15

    berkeman

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    Thread is closed for Moderation...

    Thread re-opened.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  17. Sep 19, 2014 #16

    CWatters

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    Most, or at least the best, solar powered cars have been built for competition use. Lithium rechargeable batteries are typically used as they have better energy density (energy per kg). You can look up how they work.

    However i hesitate to suggest you attempt to build your own solar powered car based on a lithium battery. Even Boeing have had safety issues with lithium batteries and the nature of your question suggests that you have little experience with batteries in general?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  18. Sep 19, 2014 #17

    CWatters

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    What do you mean by "power" in this context?

    Peak horsepower at the wheels?

    Min/Max or Average power available from the solar panels?

    Both matter if there are hills!
     
  19. Sep 19, 2014 #18
    Yeah thanks for the response. By the way do you think DC/DC converter is necessary in a solar car just to bring a voltage to a required level before charging the batteries?
     
  20. Sep 19, 2014 #19
    Or in different term, it's called "MAXIMUM POWER POINT TRACKING (MPPT) SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLERS"
     
  21. Sep 19, 2014 #20

    CWatters

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    We can't tell if it's "necessary" without knowing what you are trying to achieve. I mean you could build a crude go-kart using a cheap "camping" solar panel designed to charge a 12V lead acid battery without such a box of tricks but don't expect to be driving it on the highway.

    If you want to build something more complex using expensive cells and need to wring every last bit of performance out of them then you might need to go looking for sponsorship and a team of people to build you a special custom charge controller to match them to the battery.

    If you actually plan to build something I suggest you tell us what you want to achieve and what your $budget is.

    Electric cars are difficult enough. Solar powered cars are even harder.
     
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