Purdue University Graduate School
Joseph_Fraseur_MSET_Thesis_May-2023.pdf (10.77 MB)


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posted on 2023-04-26, 15:38 authored by Joseph L FraseurJoseph L Fraseur

 Integrating solar energy into the electric vehicle (EV) market alleviates the demand for

fossil fuels used to generate the electricity used to power these vehicles. Integrated solar panels

provide a new method of power generation for an electric vehicle, but researchers must consider

new dependent variables such as drag in the figure of vehicle efficiency. For the solar array to be

deemed a viable option for power generation, the solar array must generate enough energy to

overcome the added weight and aerodynamic drag forces the solar system introduces. The thesis

explores the application of photovoltaic modules for power generation in an EV system.

Researchers installed an off-the-shelf solar module on the roof of an EV and investigated the

system to explore the efficiency tradeoffs. The research sought to identify an optimized solar

panel configuration for minimized drag based on maximized panel surface irradiance, cooling,

and array output voltage parameters. The study utilized computational fluid dynamics modeling,

wind tunnel testing, and full-scale track testing to analyze the system. The results of this study

provide an optimized configuration for a Renogy RNG-100D atop a Chevrolet Bolt. The system

was considered optimal at a tilt angle of zero degrees when in motion. The performance benefits

due to the increased angle of the solar panel tilt were deemed insufficient in overcoming the

aerodynamic drag forces introduced into the system while in motion.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Engineering Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Anne Lucietto

Additional Committee Member 2

Diane Peters

Additional Committee Member 3

Mark French