Hyundai, Korea’s largest automaker, has officially rolled out a new hybrid car model that features a solar-panel roof, dubbed the “Sonatas Hybrid.”
The solar panel roof will be able to generate power for storage in the battery that is equivalent to 30-60% of its capacity. The added power can theoretically give the car an additional 1,300 kilometers of cruising range a year, according to the company’s website.
The solar panel is an option for car buyers and will entail an extra cost of 1.28 million Korean won (NT$33,000).
Hyundai and its affiliate KIA had originally forayed into the PV power car market last year, The two companies are currently planning on developing three solar-panel car tops, including a silicon PV power car top (1st generation), a translucent PV power car top (2nd generation), and light-type PV power car top (3rd-generation).
Huei Won Wang, Hyundai’s senior vice president and head of the car-body technology division, pointed out that the 2nd-generation translucent PV power car top, which will be applied to the existing fuel-oil cars, will charge the 12V batteries of such models and double as a skylight.
With the release of the new car model, the Korean company is now poised to join the expanding ranks of carmakers that have already launched car models with solar-panel tops in the industry. This includes carmakers like Toyota, whose new hybrid model of Prius PHV with the ultra high-efficiency solar-panel roof has already hit the road in late July.
Lightyear, a car startup from the Netherlands, is currently also developing a PV power car whose roof, hood, and rear parts are all covered in high-performance solar panels that boast a 20% conversion rate. With approximately one hour of exposure to the sun, the solar panel will generate enough power to enable the car to travel 12 kilometers of distance; When fully charged, the cruising range of the car can hit 725 kilometers. The car is currently scheduled for a rollout in 2021.
(First photo courtesy of Hyundai)