Hyundai and Kia have just announced that they will be offering solar roof panels on their cars. While the markets and cars haven’t been specified, solar roofs, some with a translucent design will be made available from 2019.
Now this isn’t the first time that solar panels have made it to the roof. The Karma Revero sedan already has it and Audi has already announced plans to offer solar roofs. In the Hyundai and Kia cars, the solar roofs will be used to charge vehicle batteries and will initially be fitted to hybrids and even cars with conventional powertrains. In the latter, the generated power can be used to power ancillaries like the air conditioner or seat heaters, thus saving that little bit of extra energy to improve the overall efficiency.
There are currently three systems in development. The first is a conventional silicon-based solar roof that will be fitted to hybrids and said to be capable of charging the battery between 30 and 60 percent of capacity within a day, depending on the level of sunlight.
This will be followed by a more advanced design with translucent appearance and will be initially used on cars with conventional powertrains. Following solar roofs, Hyundai and Kia plan to introduce panels that can be used on the hood or trunk lid of a car.