Hyundai working on solar roof charging system

Hyundai solar roof

Certain cars from Kia and Hyundai are set to get the charging systems.

The first generation model will be created out of a structure of silicon solar panels that are integrated into a standard vehicle roof. Beginning around 2020, it will add solar roof panels to both electrified vehicles and gas models as a way of boosting efficiency.

Hyundai Motor Co and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp are planning to launch a solar charging technology for some Hyundai vehicles to meet global emission regulation targets, the South Korean automakers said on Wednesday. The vehicle can then use that energy to reduce engine usage, thus increasing fuel economy and cutting Carbon dioxide emissions. It's capable of charging 30-60 percent of the battery during a day, depending on the weather.

The company is developing three types of solar roof charging systems, with the first-generation system being for hybrid vehicles, while the second-generation technology brings a semi-transparent solar roof system to ICE vehicles.

The solar charging system is composed of a solar panel, a controller and a battery.

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The second stage will represent a more dramatic step forward: applying a semi-transparent solar roof system to ICE-powered vehicles in what Hyundai calls a world first.

The third-generation system is the furthest out. That would give EVs even more solar-panel real estate to convert to energy for batteries, extending range and reducing reliance on grid power, which could come from dirtier sources.

Moving into the third generation of the technology, Hyundai and Kia will put solar-charging technologies on the hoods and roofs of electric 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", said the developer of the technology Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice-president of the Engineering and Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group.

Considering the size of solar panels that can be fitted on a conventional car's roof can only produce modest amounts of electricity, it remains to be seen if Hyundai's announcement is actually a practical thing or merely a marketing move.

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).

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