With environmental sustainability becoming a big thrust for vehicle manufacturers, Hyundai Motor Group has risen to the call along with Kia Motors. The Korean automakers have announced their plans to introduce solar roof charging technology. The idea is that solar panels will be incorporated into the vehicle's roof or hood, and that they will support hybrid and electric vehicle motors, as well as the internal combustion engine. In turn, they foresee that solar charging will improve both a vehicle's range and fuel efficiency.
Three types of solar charging stations are currently being worked on by Hyundai Motor Group. The first generation system, which they will apply to hybrid models, will be capable of charging 30% - 60% of the battery throughout the day, depending on weather and environmental conditions. The second, which will be used in vehicles still using a traditional internal combustion engine, will be using semi-transparent technologies.
Intergrated into a panoramic sunroof, the world-first application will let light through the cabin while charging the vehicle's battery at the same time. They reckon that this will help the engines comply with stricter laws regulating carbon dioxide emissions. The third and last system is currently in testing, but it is said to be applied to the vehicle's roof and hood of eco-friendly battery-powereed EV models and that it will maximize its energy output.
“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," said Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of the Engineering and Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group.
Come 2019, Hyundai Motor Group is scheduled to launch the first generation of the technology that will allow them and Kia Motors to improve vehicle efficiency, and reduce their global carbon footprint.