It would have been nice to see the Model 3 equipped with solar panel roofs. The feature, which is found in other green cars such as the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, would have given the EV a handful of extra miles on the road. While this idea is undeniably compelling, however, it seems that such a feature on the mass-market EV would not be happening anytime soon, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
In a statement at the National Governor’s Association, Musk revealed that Tesla’s engineers did attempt to look into the premise of fitting solar panels to the Model 3. However, the CEO also explained that the feature is simply not feasible at this time since a solution which could provide Model 3 owners with a substantial benefit on the road would simply be far too complicated at this point, according to an Electrek report.
In a lot of ways, it is quite unfortunate to see the Model 3’s solar panel roofs go. After all, it would have given customers yet another feature to consider when purchasing the EV. Apart from this, Tesla’s idea for the Model 3’s solar panels was pretty creative and unique too.
According to the Tesla CEO, the carmaker has been looking into the idea of fitting the Model 3 with a “deployable solar shield” that is similar to a hard top. The whole contraption would be deployed from the Model 3’s trunk, unrolling solar cells that would practically cover the entire vehicle.
Musk further stated that the solar contraption was expected to give drivers an extra 20-30 miles of range every day. This is a far cry from the 2.2 miles that is granted by the 2017 Prius Prime’s solar panel roof. Unfortunately, Musk has stated that the feature is simply far too complicated to include considering the Model 3’s current production schedule.
This does not mean to say that the Model 3 would never get solar cells, however. Down the road, there is a good chance that Tesla would eventually offer the feature to its customers. Nevertheless, this would likely happen only when Tesla is already exceeding its production goal for the Model 3.
Tesla has given itself a pretty steep timeline with regards to meeting the Model 3’s production goals. According to a Forbes report, the EV maker is expected to roll out around 100 production units of the mass-market EV in August and around 1,500 cars in September. By December, Musk stated that Tesla is planning to produce up to 20,000 vehicles per month.
[Featured Image by Tesla]