Jackery has converted the humble rooftop tent into a powerful solar generator that lets any car escape the grid for a weekend or longer. Although it’s just a concept on show at CES right now, Jackery says it will put the tent into production sometime near the end of 2024.
The retractable solar panels are said to produce up to 1000W when the car is parked and the tent is open and facing south. That’s enough to generate 4.96kWh per day in the Western US, or 4kWh as you move east, according to Jackery’s estimates. There’s no mention of its resilience to wind, but that’s hardly a concern for a concept parked on ugly carpet inside the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Rooftop tents can already be fitted with solar panels made by any number of companies, including Jackery. But those tend to be lightweight flexible panels so as to not overwhelm the tent’s folding mechanism, and they rarely cover the entire surface area due to mismatched dimensions. That results in relatively poor solar conversion efficiency for the available surface area. Jackery’s rooftop tent maximizes power generation by filling the entire roof with solar cells and then extending them outward, while also neatly integrating the wiring required to feed the Jackery power station.
The CES concept tent feeds a separate 1.26kWh E1000 Plus power station, capable of 2000W of AC output. That’s enough to run a 1150W portable air conditioner for about one hour, a 60W car fridge for about 45 hours, or a 900W electric cooker for an hour — longer if you add LFP expansion batteries for up to 5kWh of total energy storage. The E1000 Plus can also be charged from the car while driving (seven hours to full) or wall jack (1.7 hours).
It’s unclear who Jackery is partnering with on the tent production. Nevertheless, the concept is fitted with a memory foam mattress, insulation, dimmable lighting with color control, and waterproof fabric with blackout windows. Jackery says that the production version will come “complete with an onboard charging module.”
At CES, Jackery account manager Nimesh Patel provided some more details in an interview with YouTube’s The Bearded Tesla Guy, and showed off the actual prototype which differs slightly from the rendered drawings. Notably, the prototype only has three distinct solar panels, rather than the five expandable panels shown in the renders. Nevertheless, Patel says the shipping model will feature a 400W panel at the center of the 1000W array, with a removable power station built into the tent that’s “sleekly designed” so that it doesn’t take up too much interior space while sleeping. Jackery’s also working on making expansion kits available to add additional storage as well as an AC inverter kit to quickly charge the power station off the vehicle’s alternator while the engine is running. The tent is expected to weigh less than 200 pounds and is designed to fit as many vehicle sizes as possible, including possibly sedans.
It’s too early to call it a trend, but I’m happy to see solar generator specialists like Jackery and EcoFlow (via its partnership with Winnebago) embrace the community of overlanders, vanlifers, and weekend warriors with fully integrated solutions that make it easy to take modern work / life comforts off the grid.
Update January 9th, 7:03AM ET: Added video of prototype from CES floor as well as details about the production version learned at the show.
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