31.10.2018Solar charging to be added to Hyundai and Kia models
Hyundai and Kia have announced plans to add solar roof charging technology to selected group models, supporting electric, hybrid, and internal combustion vehicles with additional electrical power to improve efficiency.
The systems will be able to charge batteries of pure-electric and plug-in hybrid models, while also assisting conventional hybrid and petrol or diesel cars with auxiliary systems.
Three different types of system are being developed. The first will be implemented on hybrid models, while the second generation system will add a semi-transparent solar roof to internal combustion models. The third iteration will be applied to pure-electric vehicles, as a lightweight solar roof.
The first generation system will be able to add between 30% and 60% charge to a hybrid's battery, depending on environmental conditions.
Internal combustion models will see the addition of a panoramic roof fitted with the solar panels, which will reduce the drain on the car's battery from the engine and systems such as air conditioning. EVs will see the technology fitted to both the roof and bonnet to maximise charging capabilities.
The idea isn't new, with Nissan having a small solar panel available on the first-generation Leaf. Toyota's Prius Plug-In can be specified with a solar roof that adds around 400 'free' miles a year for UK drivers. Kia and Hyundai's plans are the most comprehensive from a mass-market manufacturing group to date though.
If developments go according to plans, the systems will be introduced from 2020 onwards.