The Tesla Cybertruck has become quite topic of contention since its unveil by CEO and co-founder Elon Musk in late November, with one question being how to fit it into a standard size garage (you can’t). Or even whether it needs one at all.
Innovative Australian clean energy building startup Iron Matrix however, has offered up its own solution: a solar-panelled carport that teams up with its recently patented solar construction solution to provide off grid living.
The brainchild of ex-Chevron business analyst and now Iron Matrix CEO and founder David Morgan, the Cybertruck solar carport is a rugged, no-nonsense design that uses a bolted steel construction method to create an energy-generating protective shade from the elements, as envisioned in a video posted by Iron Matrix (below).
Made of standard lengths of steel that can, according to Morgan, all fit into the back of the Cybertruck, the carport is one of a multitude of applications that company is targetting to demonstrate the viability of Iron Matrix structures.
“We developed this Iron Matrix system with a pure intention of creating structures clad in solar panels and in also doing so, lowering the cost of solar panels by displacing solar building materials with the panels,” says Morgan.
The patent for the solar construction method – which consists of a specialised joint connection that allows Iron Matrix buildings to be constructed without footings, cranes or scaffolding – can be built anywhere says Morgan.
“What that means is we can build can houses and EV charging carports anywhere,” says Morgan.
“All of a sudden that Cybertruck sounds like a fantastic idea, because you can then drive it anywhere and fuel it anywhere at a location and drive it back again. You can’t with a diesel – you have to have enough fuel with you,” he says.
The inspiration behind the Cybertruck carport – and the Iron Matrix system as a whole – is underpinned by the dropping cost of batteries, Morgan says.
“The cost of lithium batteries are now getting to appoint where you can deliver a kilowatt hour for half the price of the grid,” he says.
This is not just a vision: it is a real system that Morgan says can be ordered now, and thanks to the recent US patent approval the size of Iron Matrix’s potential market has now increased by an order of magnitude.
Now that the US patent has been approved, Iron Matrix has started creating part for the Iron Matrix system, using automated machines.
“We just started producing the steel in October, only once that patent was approved did we pull trigger on making publicly available.”
But would a carport made purely from solar panels generate enough power to recharge the Cybertruck?
Morgan estimates that the output of the solar carport envisioned in the video would be about 30kWh/day (and notes that it can easily be unbolted and reconfigured, thanks to the Iron Matrix system).
“It will get a car about 150km a day, the truck about 100km a day,” he says.
Leave the Cybertruck charging for a few days while you enjoy living off grid – hello weekend.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.