Designing innovative solutions for solar-powered electric mobility applications

Alonzo Sierra*, Angèle Reinders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
189 Downloads (Pure)


Designing with photovoltaics (PV) is the core focus of this paper which presents the results of a design study on conceptual PV applications for electric mobility systems. This is a relevant direction for new product development because PV technology can contribute to improved features of electric mobility systems not just in terms of CO2 emissions reduction but also regarding product aesthetics and user experiences. Design studies are multidisciplinary by nature; therefore, in this case technical, user, regulatory and aesthetic aspects are covered. Eleven conceptual designs were developed in 2019 by means of a design project executed at the University of Twente, encompassing solutions for PV-powered charging of electric vehicles, vehicle-integrated PV products and other applications. The concepts focus on various modes of transport beyond passenger cars such as public transportation, electric bicycles and utility vehicles, in some cases applying alternative charging technologies such as battery swapping and induction charging in their design. In this paper four of these conceptual designs are presented as case studies, showing their multidisciplinary focus as well as parts of the design process behind their development. An evaluation of these conceptual designs revealed several design challenges that need to be addressed in their development, including the limited space available for integrating PV cells, the technical limitations posed by some of the proposed charging methods and the effective visual communication of the concept's intended function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-818
Number of pages17
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number7
Early online date30 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • design
  • electric vehicles
  • PV for transport
  • PV systems
  • charging infrastructure


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