Hyundai and Kia have developed and launched a new panoramic solar roof that incorporates solar panels which can reduce energy consumption in vehicles. These solar panels can help generate electricity and can be made a part of either the roof or the hood of vehicles. The energy that they generate can be used to support internal combustion, or to supplement the electrical power available to electric and hybrid vehicles. This will help to enhance the range and fuel efficiency of electric vehicles.
The solar charging technology was developed with the goal of supplementing the main power source of the vehicle, improving its mileage and reducing CO2 emissions. The technology can help charge not only the batteries of electrified models but also of vehicles running on internal combustion engines (ICE).
The Hyundai Motor Group is currently developing three types of solar roof charging systems: the first-generation silicon solar roof system, the second-generation semi-transparent solar roof system, and the third-generation lightweight solar-lid on the vehicle’s body. The first-generation solar roof system will be used in hybrid models, and comprises a structure of mass-produced silicon solar panels. These panels can be mounted on an ordinary roof and can help charge upto 30 to 60 percent of the battery every day based on several factors such as the weather conditions and the environment.
The second-generation semi-transparent solar roof system is the kind that can be used in vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, and mark a first in the industry. It comes with transmissive panel options and can be integrated into a panoramic sunroof, thus maintaining transparency whilst charging an electric vehicle’s battery or an additional battery which is mounted on an internal combustion engine vehicle.
The third-generation lightweight solar-lid system, is currently being tested for use in eco-friendly vehicle models. This system comprises a structure that mounts solar panels on a bonnet and roof combined, so that the energy levels produced are as high as possible. The solar charging system comprises a solar panel, a controller, and a battery. When solar energy from the sun touches the surface of the solar panel, electricity is produced.
When it comes to the amount of energy that can be produced through the use of these solar panels, a 100W solar panel is equipped, in 1 sun standards (summer noon, 1000 W/㎡ intensity of radiation) it can produce 100Wh of energy per hour.
The use of such solar charging systems in internal combustion engine vehicles can help vehicles adhere to CO2 emissions norms which are becoming more stringent across the globe, particularly in Europe. Hyundai has said that it expects to launch the first generation of this solar roof technology into its vehicles after 2019 with the twin goals of meeting global regulations targets and to improve vehicle fuel efficiency.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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