A solar charging roof being installed.
05 Nov 2018

Asian car manufacturers announce solar panel roofs - creating new high voltage challenge for extrication teams


Just when firefighters thought they were starting to get a handle on how to cut and extricate on electrical vehicles, Asian car manufacturers announced plans for integrated solar panels on the roof of cars. This could lead to new challenges for Extrication and further revisions of the industry standardization of rescue sheets.

Kia Motors and Hyundai Motor have announced plans to introduce 'solar roof' charging technology on selected Hyundai Motor Group vehicles, reports Electrical Vehicle Research:

Electricity-generating solar panels will be incorporated into the roof or the hood of vehicles, and will support internal combustion, hybrid and battery electric vehicles with additional electrical power, reportedly increasing fuel efficiency and range.

However, solar charging roofs for cars is nothing new. After market systems are already available for self-install on several vehicle brands, and already in early 2017, Tesla announced a partnership to develop a solar charging roof with Panasonic.

The efficiency of the after market solar charging roofs has been questioned. The possibility of pre-installed, integrated solar panel roofs on brand new cars could change the playing field for this type of technology.


Details on the new Asian solar system:

Hyundai Motor Group is developing three types of solar roof charging systems. The system will have the capability to charge the batteries of electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as those of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, reportedly being able to help to improve fuel efficiency:

The first-generation system is for hybrid vehicles, while the second-generation technology brings a semi-transparent solar roof system to ICE vehicles. The third generation of the technology will see the introduction of a lightweight solar roof for battery electric vehicles. The first-generation system, which will be applied to hybrid models, is created out of a structure of silicon solar panels that are integrated into a standard car roof. This system is capable of charging 30 to 60 percent of the battery over the course of a normal day, depending on weather conditions and other environmental factors.

The second-generation semi-transparent solar roof will be applied to ICE vehicles, (regular combustion engines)  representing a world-first application for the technology. The semi-transparent technologies can be integrated with a panoramic sunroof, letting light through into the cabin, whilst charging the vehicle's battery at the same time. Applying solar charging systems to ICE vehicles will reportedly help them comply with ever more stringent global environmental laws regulating CO2 emissions.

The third-generation system, is currently in testing. It is designed to be applied to the hood and roof of  battery electric vehicle models in order to maximize energy output.

Source and top image: Hyundai Motor Group


Read more at: https://www.electricvehiclesresearch.com/articles/15737/kia-and-hyundai-reveal-solar-charging-system