We just recently learned that Tesla may add an electric van to its future plans. And, it makes perfect sense for plenty of reasons: Other companies already have plans for electric vans, and the world needs them. However, the fact that it may have solar panels is certainly worth sharing. We vote for a Tesla camper with solar panels as well.
Musk mentioned the possibility of a Tesla electric van during the recent Q4 2020 earnings call. He didn't just bring it up, however. Instead, he was replying to a question from TBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak. The question was related to a tweet reply Musk posted a few years ago.
Interestingly, during the call, Musk answered the question with the following response:
“I think Tesla is definitely going to make an electric van at some point.”
However, that was the beginning and the end of the discussion about a Tesla electric van. Moreover, we haven't heard anything else about it since. With Tesla's plate so full, and several other future vehicles delayed, it seemed the response from Musk was just simply a fair answer to a question, and that was that.
Fast-forward to more recently, just this week when Musk was talking with Rogan on the podcast. The Tesla electric van came up once again. However, this time, the CEO added new details to the story. Musk told Rogan that due to the van's design, it might actually make sense to equip it with solar panels. However, first, Musk explained why Tesla hasn't already put solar panels on its vehicles. He said, via Teslarati:
"Equipping any of Tesla’s currently-offered vehicles with solar panels would raise the cost of the car exponentially while not giving enough value to drivers who would pay for the feature. The issue is, most passenger vehicles do not have the surface area, or are they driven in the correct climate to make the installation of solar panels an advantageous solution to add driving range. Some have tried this in the past with DIY projects, but it hasn’t resulted in much effectiveness to justify it as an option for Tesla."
A van is a much larger vehicle, and the style of van Tesla is considering would be a large van with a flat area up top. Due to the larger area that could easily accept solar panels, it may actually be feasible and useful to have an electric van with solar panels. Musk continued:
“Now, a van, because you have a big, flat area, that’s actually where solar could start to make a little more sense. You know, because you have a lot of area. You could also have, maybe, a roof where it is solar, and then, when it is stationary, [the roof] goes out and provides shade, and maybe triples your area or something like that. Now, you triple the area, and you have a big, flat surface, you could maybe start charging enough where you start getting like 30 miles a day.”
Taking things a step further, Rogan talked about the van having a retractable awning. It could be pulled out, allowing more surface area for solar panels.
Of course, it will likely be many years before an electric van with solar panels is a Tesla reality. However, it's still interesting to know it may be in the cards.
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