© Audi Electronics Production | August 23, 2017
Cars with a solar roof: Audi cooperates with Hanergy
Thin-film solar cells in panoramic glass roofs of cars might be a reality sooner than you think. Audi and Alta Devices, a subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, are working together on this development project.
The partners aim to generate solar energy to increase the range of electric vehicles – and they aim to have the first prototype built by the end of 2017, Audi states in a press release. As the first step, Audi and Hanergy want to integrate Alta Devices’ thin-film solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. In the future, the companies aims to have almost the entire roof surface covered with solar cells. The electricity they generate will flow into the car’s electrical system and can supply for example the air-conditioning system or the seat heaters – a gain in efficiency that has a direct positive impact on the range of an electric vehicle. “The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable,” stated Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement Dr. Bernd Martens. At a later stage, solar energy could directly charge the traction battery. “That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility,” continued Martens. The solar cells have an efficiency of more than 25 percent, they are very thin and flexible. The cells are said to perform very well also in conditions of low light and high temperature. The solar cells are produced by Alta Devices in California.