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Has anyone explored the advantages of replacing the 12v lead acid battery with a lithium 12v battery, adding slim flexible solar panels to the roof and bonnet?

I believe this would be a good solution into extending the range when using HVAC in summer/winter.

Thoughts...
 

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Lithium batteries need different charging voltages etc compared to lead acids, so you'll want one with a built-in BMS that's designed to imitate a lead-acid. These exist, eg in USA abour $450 if you're prepared to pay that. Some have an anti-flattening feature where they shut down if voltage goes too low, but keeping an emergency reserve you can activate to restart the car and get the big HV recharging it all properly. A nice feature if you ever suffer a vampire attack - I've had 2 in 2 years of ownership.

Adding flexible solar panels to roof/bonnet's going to look horrible imho. You have double curvature so not easy. Simpler if it was single curvature like a cylinder, but it's not. Easier just carry a battery booster around.
 
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There was someone who fixed a flexible solar panel to their roof to help power the 12V while camping. It wasn't the full size of the roof.

I have a 20W solar panel on the rear parcel shelf(phev has the 12V battery in the boot). It was keeping the 12V topped up but does need to be in the sun, not in the shade of a tree, if you away on holiday for 4 weeks.
 

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Mpg (or range) gains if any would be very small, unlikely to be noticeable. Even less likely would be a return on initial investment. No particular advantage to buying a lithium battery over your OEM lead acid battery for this purpose.

But such a setup may help extend the life of your 12 volt lead acid battery. The lowest cost would be a solar panel strip on your dash connected to your OBD port and that would be sufficient (and less likely to be stolen or vandalized). I see car dealers using this approach in their cars on the lot. And you can transfer it to your next car.
 
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Mpg (or range) gains if any would be very small, unlikely to be noticeable. Even less likely would be a return on initial investment. No particular advantage to buying a lithium battery over your OEM lead acid battery for this purpose.

But such a setup may help extend the life of your 12 volt lead acid battery. The lowest cost would be a solar panel strip on your dash connected to your OBD port and that would be sufficient (and less likely to be stolen or vandalized). I see car dealers using this approach in their cars on the lot. And you can transfer it to your next car.
I have a solar panel for internal use via the OBD port that I used on my previous (ICE) car. However I had just assumed using it on the Ioniq electric would be a bad idea. What would happen if the panel was plugged in and the car decided to charge the battery?

Does anyone know if the 12V battery is charged during driving, or only periodically whilst switched off?

Thanks!
 

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Unlikely to damage your solar panel if the car decides to charge, I think. I assume my 2020 model's similar in this respect to the 2018s, mine produces 14.9V when it decides to do the 1-per-day auto-topup (now 6-per-day if you have had the latest patch). This might reverse-voltage the solar cells but should be ok, as they're just a lot of diodes in series.

Yes the car does some charging while driving around, anywhere between 14.9V and maybe 13V. Whatever. Here's mine over 7 days, there's a little bit
in the middle where I did actuall drive it!
Slope Rectangle Font Line Parallel
 
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I have a solar panel for internal use via the OBD port that I used on my previous (ICE) car. However I had just assumed using it on the Ioniq electric would be a bad idea. What would happen if the panel was plugged in and the car decided to charge the battery?
I don't see why it would be a bad idea. Your ICE car was equipped with an alternator that generally provided constant charging voltage above 14 volts while car was on. The only difference is with EVs is that charging is intermittent. So when the EV is charging, your electrical system is in the exact same state as your prior ICE was while running. If you park your car outside, a solar panel could help maintain battery health. If I owned the car and took this step, I would still do preventative maintenance once a month or more with a desulphating charger. This should extend your lead acid battery's life quite a bit, and reduce the chances (but not eliminate) that you are stranded with a dead battery.
 

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My 20W Solar is fine permanently connected to the battery.
The car charges the battery whilst driving, whilst the car is ON, whilst charging the traction battery(phev & EV), and during Battery Saver+ operation.
 
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