Worksport, a company known for its wide variety of tough and functional pickup truck tonneau covers, recently introduced the TerraVis, a solar-powered generator system that doubles as a tonneau cover.
When I first heard of the TerraVis, I (wrongly) assumed it was being developed exclusively for use with electric pickup trucks, with the main purpose being to add some extra solar-powered miles to the high-voltage battery pack. However, after chatting with the WorkSport's CEO, Steven Rossi, I realize that's not what this interesting product is all about.
Don't get me wrong, it certainly can be used to charge the main traction battery pack of a fully electric or plug-in hybrid pickup truck, and Worksport is currently in negotiations with electric pickup manufacturers to offer the TerraVis as a factory option. However, that's probably not going to be what most buy the TerraVis system for, at least not for a few years until electric pickup trucks begin to really proliferate.
"We're currently working to solidify contracts with electric pickup manufacturers and will hopefully have more details on that soon" - Steven Rossi, CEO of Worksport, Ltd.
The TerraVis system consists of four monocrystalline foldable solar panels that are tough enough to support the weight of a person walking on them. The panels feed a modular battery system mounted inside on the wall of the bed. The batteries are approximately 2 kWh each and the system can have up to 4 battery packs, plus the 1 kWh one that powers the portable charging pack that houses 110v AC power inverter.
The TerraVis has an output of approximately 5,000 watts and will be custom designed for use on conventionally-fueled pickup trucks for portable on-demand power. The system can be used on job sites and for remote adventure experiences where grid power isn't available. It can also be used to provide power during an outage or a natural disaster.
The portable mobile charging pack or "brain box" as Rossi calls it can be removed from the system and carried onsite. Once the ~1 kWh battery module in the break-away box is exhausted, you simply plug it back into the battery rack and in 20 minutes it's fully charged again, provided there's enough energy stored in the remaining battery packs.
The four panels have an output of approximately 1,000 watts, and Rossi compares that output to a what a typical 110v wall outlet might provide to an EV while charging on a level 1 EVSE. When used to charge the battery on an electric pickup truck, Rossi says the system should provide enough power to cover about 30% of the daily driving a typical person would need. That's based on the fact that the average American drives roughly 40 miles per day.
Gallery: TerraVis Solar Cargo Cover
The TerraVis system isn't available for purchase yet, and we don't have any estimated pricing, but Rossi promises us that it won't be prohibitively expensive. One reason is that since the system is modular, you don't have to buy the full arrangement of battery packs. You can start out with just one battery and if you find you need more power storage you simply add as many of the approximately 2 kWh battery units as needed.
We'll be keeping in touch with Rossi and TerraVis. We believe this system can have many uses that extend well beyond pickup trucks. We'd like to know what our pick-up driving readers think. Is TerraVis something you'd be interested in getting for your truck? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. You check out the WorkSport website for more information on the TerraVis system.