Tesla debuted a prototype solar-powered extended-range trailer at the IdeenExpo trade show in Hannover, Germany, on July 4 local time, saying it could provide additional range for Tesla's CyberTruck.
IdeenExpo is Europe's largest natural science and technology event for young people, featuring workshops, exhibits, etc. from exhibitors such as major companies, research institutes and universities. Tesla, Volkswagen and other automotive companies also participated in the show.
The prototype trailer announced by Tesla at the aforementioned show was a solar-powered extended range trailer with solar expandable panels and Starlink dish antennas. The trailer thus came with SpaceX's Starlink Internet satellite system. According to attendees, the extended-range trailer appears to provide considerable energy to the car because the solar panels can be folded. The trailer also appears to be lighter in weight, but it has not yet been announced whether additional battery packs have been installed inside it.
As the popularity of electric vehicles increases, so does consumer demand for their range. Some automakers are considering adding solar panels to electric vehicles to extend their range, such as Aptera, which is launching a solar-powered electric car prototype, and Sono Motors, a German solar car startup, and Lightyear, a Dutch electric car manufacturer, which are both working on designing solar-powered vehicles.
In addition, automakers are also considering using solar panels as a portable, stand-alone charging solution as a way to increase the range of electric vehicles. Tesla's solar-powered extended-range trailer, announced this time, is designed primarily to provide more range for the CyberTruck.
In November 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company's first electric pickup truck, named the Cybertruck, which is a "cyberpunk" style, a departure from traditional pickups on the market, inspired by the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner. The inspiration was the 1982 science fiction movie "Blade Runner". At the end of June, Musk said Tesla has finalized the final design of the Cybertruck, which is currently scheduled for production in mid-2023.
Musk also mentioned a similar solar range extender product after the Cybertruck debuted in 2019. Musk suggested at the time that Tesla might design a solar range extender for the all-electric pickup Cybertruck that could add about 15 miles per day to its range. He said the use of foldable solar panels could potentially increase the Cybertruck's daily driving range to 30 to 40 miles per day. Considering that the average U.S. driver travels about 39 miles per day, the additional mileage from the solar panels would be practical