South Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group announced on Wednesday that they are working to implement a solar panel car roof system into future Hyundai and Kia models. The solar panels will be capable of generating electricity as a way to increase range and fuel-efficiency as well as to lower CO2 emissions. Hyundai and Kia plan to implement the solar panel roof technology “after 2019,” and are currently developing three different solar cells for traditional internal combustion engine (ICE), hybrid, and battery-electric vehicles.
The first-generation system will be applied to hybrid models and is created out of a “structure of silicon solar panels” that will be integrated into the roofs of future vehicles. Hyundai Motor Group reports that the system will be able to charge 30 to 60 percent of the battery over the course of a typical day given adequate weather conditions.
The second-generation semi-transparent solar panel car roof will be applied to ICE vehicles, which will be the first application of the technology in the world. The semi-transparent car roof will allow light into the cabin while charging the battery of the vehicle at the same time. Being able to apply a solar charging system into an ICE vehicle will allow them to to effortlessly comply with stricter global CO2 emission regulations.
The third-generation solar panel car roof is currently undergoing testing, but will be designed for the roofs and hoods of battery-electric vehicles in order to maximize their energy output.
Jeong-Gil Park, Executive Vice President of the Engineering and Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group and developer of the solar technology, stated:
“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. 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.”
There is no set release date for the solar panel roof technology at this time.