how does the Cybertruck retractable sunroof work?

Eighteen months ago, the Tesla Cybertruck pick-up was presented with great fanfare. Elon Musk said prospective customers could take advantage of an interesting option: a retractable sunroof. The recently published patent of this innovation helps to understand how it works.

Driving on solar energy? Not easy !

We are gradually entering the era of electric vehicles and solar energy could perhaps have a place among energy sources. On the other hand, it is still a bit difficult to run solar-powered cars. Indeed, cars often park in covered places and solar panels alone do not produce not enough energy to drive these vehicles. There remains the solution of installing panels on the car body, but this is an operation that is often too expensive and complex compared to the expected benefits.

At the end of 2019, however, Elon Musk presented the long-awaited pickup from Tesla: the Cybertruck. In addition to amazing futuristic curves, the vehicle promised a range of 800 kilometers for a single charge. Most importantly, the pickup was made of an ultra-resistant stainless steel alloy, the same as that used in SpaceX’s Starship rocket. Among the options available to prospective customers, we find a: retractable sunroof.

Tesla Cybertruck retractable sunroof
Credits: Patentscope / WIPO
Tesla Cybertruck retractable sunroof
Credits: Patentscope / WIPO

How it works ?

Since May 27, 2021, the patent for this solar roof is available on the Patentscope platform of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This roof has the shape of multiple removable portions covered with photovoltaic cells. However, these parts would be connected to each other by flexible connections that allow for wrapping during opening and closing. This function must also be activated from the inside, but also from the outside of the vehicle for greater freedom of use.

The sunroof in question, which could be considered a kind of “high-tech tarpaulin”, would protect the container from any outside intrusion, especially the rain. She can also turn out to be one protection against thieves without affecting the vehicle’s capacity. Tesla’s patent does not indicate how much energy this solar roof would generate. However, Elon Musk said in 2019 that it could 25 km extra range on Cybertruck.

Finally, remember that Toyota presented a car equipped with a new-generation sunroof. This allows the vehicle to be charged while stationary as well as on the move. In addition, a device manages this energy according to need, including GPS, radio, etc. According to the manufacturer, this roof of 5 m² gives photovoltaic cells the possibility of not less than 12 km range per hour and up to 45 km per day.