Hyundai and Kia developing 'solar roof' charging technology
Korean sister brands Hyundai and Kia are planning to introduce 'solar roof' charging technology on forthcoming models.
Panels located on the roof and bonnet will be used to charge the batteries of internal-combustion, hybrid and purely electric cars, with improvements promised in fuel efficiency and range.
While plugging in will still be the primary method of charging, the solar panels will serve as a support to the main power source. Three types of solar-charging system are being developed, the first generation for hybrid cars, the second for internal-combustion cars and the third for pure electric vehicles.
Hyundai says the first-generation system will be capable of adding from 30% to 60% charge to a hybrid's battery over the course of normal day, with the weather unsurprisingly having a major effect on how much and how fast charging can be completed.
The second-generation system will be integrated into the panoramic sunroof of internal-combustion cars, and Hyundai says the primary purpose will be to help these vehicles meet increasingly stringent CO2 emissions regulations.
The third-generation system is currently in testing and is intended to boost the energy output of pure-electric cars, with panels integrated into the roof and bonnet.
Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor Group's engineering and design division, said: “In the future, we expect to see many different types of electricity-generating technologies integrated into our vehicles. The solar roof is the first of these technologies, and will mean that automobiles no longer passively consume energy, but will begin to produce it actively."
Hyundai hasn't yet revealed exactly which models the technology will first appear on, but it's slated to be available from some point in 2019.