As we move forward towards electrified mobility, more and more solutions to solve range anxiety emerge. The newest comes from the house of Hyundai and KIA have announced that future generations of their cars will come equipped with solar panels that will not only work to increase efficiency by also increase range and decrease CO2 emissions. The solar panels that are planned to be fitted on the roofs and hoods of the vehicles that launch from this manufacturer in 2019, will go towards supplementing internal combustion as well as all electric and hybrid cars. The solar panels themselves will comprise of a solar panel, a controller and a battery.
Hyundai says that the first generation of this technology will be mounted on the roofs and hoods of hybrid cars and will contribute to a 30-60% charge per day, as per weather conditioning. The second generation which is already in the planning phases will have a semi-transparent solar roof system applied to a panoramic sunroof and capable of charging an electric-vehicle battery. This technology will be fitted to mild-hybrid ICE Cars as well, thus helping them adhere to CO2 Emission ratings, boosting exports for the company. The company has also announced a third generation that will add solar production capability in the hood and roof of purely electric cars, but as now no more details are available.
"In the future, various types of electricity-generating technologies, including the solar charging system, will be connected to vehicles," said Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of engineering design at Hyundai Motor Group. "This will enable them to develop from a passive device that consumes energy to a solution that actively generates energy. The paradigm of the vehicle owner will shift from that of a consumer to an energy prosumer."
The problem is, that to date, Solar Vehicle charging technology has been something that is designed to light duty charging for smaller components like interior cooling or even trickle charging like the Nissan Leaf. Now recently some advances in Solar technology has prompted a strong drive on the part of manufacturers to bring it to the forefront of electric cars. It will interesting to see whether Hyundai and Kia can, in the end, make a practical argument for this technology in the near future.