Audi to install solar cells on panoramic sunroofs


When it comes to electric vehicles, everything possible needs to be done in order to extend the range. Because sometimes, you might wanna go to your favourite ice cream parlour too after lunch, and the range anxiety shouldn’t stop you.

Which is why Audi and Alta Devices, a subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, are working together to integrate thin-film solar cells into the panoramic glass roof.

In future, almost the entire roof surface is going to be covered with solar cells, says Audi. The generated electricity will flow into the car’s electrical system and can supply for air-conditioning or the seat heaters – a gain in efficiency that will have a direct positive impact on the range of an electric vehicle.

“The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable,” said Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement Dr. Bernd Martens.

At a later stage, solar energy could directly charge the traction battery. “That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility,” continued Martens.

The solar cells have an efficiency of more than 25 percent, they are very thin and flexible. Furthermore, they perform very well in low light and high temperature conditions, said the company. The solar cells are produced by Alta Devices in California.

Audi hopes the first prototype to be developed by the end of 2017.

Although integrating solar cells into an EV’s body is not new, its probably new for an Audi. Checkout Sono Motors’ Sion, a solar EV from Munich.

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