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Scientists Powering Tesla on 9,400-mile Journey With Rolled-up Printed Solar Panels


Rumble/Reuters

Scientists from Australia and Britain are planning to take a 9,400-mile road trip through some of the most remote regions of the world in a Tesla, all the while charging the batteries with an unrollable plastic solar panel sheet.

Called the Charge Around Australia project, the team hopes to get Australians to think about ways to prevent climate change.

There are parts of Western and Central Australia that, as Paul Dastoor—the roll-up solar panel’s inventor—says, are probably the most remote in the world; scorching temperatures, vast distances, and a lack of water simply prohibit comfortable human habitation.

Tackling them in a Tesla is a big undertaking, but has the benefit of putting the solar panels immediately under the most extreme conditions imaginable, where dirt and dust, daily rolling and unrolling, high heat, and repeated use will provide the ultimate test of their merit.

Aside from the price point, the biggest hesitancy among consumers to buy electric cars is “range anxiety” and a lack of charging stations near them. Some companies are inventing mobile charging packs, but they’re slow, expensive, and easy to steal.

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Printed by a machine used to make wine labels, the printed solar panels fix all these problems, as they cost around $3.33 per square foot. They consist of a transparent solar electrode laminated in PET plastic. Dastoor’s wine-label appropriated technology allows his team to print around a third of a mile, or half a kilometer of solar cell strips every day.

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The 84-day journey will include stops at around 70 schools to give talks on the technology, how it can help prevent climate change, and what everyone around the world can do as well.

The scientists’ hope is that Tesla founder Elon Musk will think the project was really cool for “showing how our innovative technology is now combining with his developments to develop new solutions for the planet”, Dastoor told Reuters.

(WATCH the video for this story below.)

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