Colloquium announcement

Faculty of Engineering Technology

Department Design, Production and Management
Master programme Industrial Design Engineering

As part of his / her master assignment

Krol, A.C. (Andries)

will hold a speech entitled:

Conceptual design of an innovative PV-powered camper



This study investigates the possibilities of integrating photovoltaic solar cells (PV) in a camper vehicle for more sustainable holiday-making. A concept is designed that shows how a future camper can look and make use of solar energy for on-board amenities and to assist driving. Compared to passenger cars, a camper has the potential to cover a much larger area with PV for energy production. Yet, integration of PV implies challenges for the hardware design and usability of a camper.

Research on several topics is conducted to support ideation and development of a concept, namely: PV technology, energy balance between PV and the powertrain, autonomous driving, legislation, and target group characteristics and behaviour. In addition, an end user study is conducted through a survey among 160 camper users, providing insights that support decision making throughout the design process.

The design process starts with a wide exploration of possibilities. A morphological scheme is used to structure all ideasweight pros and cons and to create concepts. From there, several iterations are executed to converge towards a concept that balances the configuration of the hardware and styling. A final concept for a two-person camper is designed and realised as a CAD model. The concept is further developed with models for the powertrain and PV system.

The system architecture of current campers can be simplified by opting for a fully electric powertrain. The need for a separate powertrain with internal combustion engine, gas supply for cooking and heating, and a low voltage electric circuit can be removed. A central battery pack to store and supply energy makes the system more energy-efficient and space-saving, while also requiring less maintenance.

A powertrain model in Matlab Simulink allows to simulate energy consumption based on driving cycles. Driving a top speed of 97 km/h instead of 120 km/h makes it possible to approach a consumption of 30 kWh/100 km, which is the expected value for a 3.5 tonne vehicle as found in literature. The air drag and roll resistance coefficients are found to have the largest impact of the variables involved.

Solar irradiance depends on time and location. Therefore, BIMsolar is used to simulate the energy yield for a specific model of the camper on five locations. This creates insight into where and when a camper with integrated PV is a viable concept. To avoid unreasonable expectations, consumers should be informed about the estimated energy yields. A benefit is that campers are mainly used during the summer months with the highest solar irradiance. Then, a daily solar drive range up to tens of kilometres can be achieved.