In an effort to extend the range of electric vehicles, Audi are partnering with a Chinese solar cell specialist to develop a thin-film (semi-transparent) solar cell that the company can integrate into panoramic glass roofs.
The first prototype of the Audi solar panoramic sunroof is expected to be built by the end of 2017. This first step will pave the way for pan roofs where almost the entire roof surface is covered in with solar cells. The electricity generated would flow into the car’s electrical system to be used for things like the air conditioning, seat heaters or allowing the energy to be stored in the car batteries. Ultimately, Audi wants to be able to extend the range of electric vehicles significantly with this technique.
“We plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range.”
DR BERND MARTENS – AUDI
“The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers,” Audi Board Member, Dr Bernd Martens said, “Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable.”
This green electricity will be generated by innovative solar cells developed by Hanergy. They are extremely thin and flexible, unlike the solar cells we’re used to seeing on house rooftops, and they perform well in low light or high temperature.
Dr Ding Jian, senior Vice President at Hanergy, said: “This partnership with Audi is [our] first co-operation with a high-end auto brand. By combining [our] continuing breakthroughs in solar technology and Audi’s drive toward a sustainable mobility of the future, we will shape the solar car of the future.”
Could this be the beginning of a new venture for Audi? Audi Solar? With companies like Tesla offering solar panels for houses, battery packs, and more, it makes us wonder whether more car brands will be jumping on the bandwagon to offer products similar to this. Interestingly, Mercedes – another brand under the Volkswagen Group banner – have already started offering home battery packs, and we think Audi is just around the corner from a big announcement too.