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Hyundai working on solar roof charging system

01 November 2018

The Korean automaker hasn't specified which models will be available with the system, but the hybrid versions of the Hyundai Sonata and Ioniq, as well as the Kia Optima and Niro, seem to be good bets.

But next year will mark the first time a solar-roof panel will be fitted to a more budget-friendly auto.

Hyundai is hoping the systems will be able to improve real-world fuel economy, improve their efficiency and reduce Carbon dioxide emissions. Even if it didn't add to a vehicle's range, solar-generated energy could offset the demands on a gas engine of an AC generator which is typically used to power infotainment and other electronic systems. Given a healthy supply of sunlight, Hyundai says, this solar roof could deliver 30- to 60-percent of the charge of a hybrid's battery in a day.

Hyundai has developed semi-transparent solar panels that are able to be integrated into a panoramic sunroof.

Of course, some of these technologies aren't new as vehicles like the Toyota Prius and previous-generation Nissan Leaf already come fitted with them.

Developed to support increased energy needs of autonomous technology, the solar charging technology would also assist in reducing Carbon dioxide emissions associated with EV chargers using electricity from a grid dominated by coal (such as Australia's).

The second-generation semi-transparent solar roof will be applied to ICE vehicles, representing a world-first application for the technology. And eventually Hyundai and Kia will introduce lightweight solar panels that can be used for the hood or trunk lid of a auto.

When a 100W solar panel is equipped, it can produce up to 100Wh of energy (in ideal conditions: summer noon, 1000 W/m2 intensity of radiation).

"It is an exciting development for us, designing a technology for vehicle owners to help them shift from being energy users to being energy producers", said Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of the engineering and design division of Hyundai Motor Group. The panels will charge the main battery or an auxiliary battery included as part of the system while blending more naturally into the sunroof structure.

Hyundai working on solar roof charging system