Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have announced plans to introduce solar charging technology on selected Hyundai Motor Group vehicles.
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, increasing fuel efficiency and range.
The solar charging technology is being developed to support the vehicles main power source, improving mileage and reducing CO2 emissions.
The companies say it can charge batteries of not just eco-friendly vehicles, including electric and hybrid vehicles, but also of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, thereby improving fuel efficiency.
Hyundai Motor Group is developing three types of solar roof charging systems: The first-generation silicon solar roof system, the second-generation semi-transparent solar roof system, and the third-generation lightweight solar-lid on the vehicles body.
The first-generation solar roof system, which will be applied to hybrid models, includes a structure of mass-produced silicon solar panels that are mounted on an ordinary roof.
Hyundai says this system can charge 30 to 60 per cent of the battery per day, depending on the weather condition and the environment.
The second-generation semi-transparent solar roof system will be applied to vehicles with internal combustion engines.
The semi-transparent solar panels are applied to a panoramic sunroof, maintaining transparency whilst charging an electric vehicles battery or an additional battery mounted on an internal combustion engine vehicle.
The company says that applying solar charging systems to internal combustion engine vehicles will contribute to the increase in vehicle exports, by enabling vehicles to adhere to global-scale environmental laws that regulate CO2 emissions.
The third-generation lightweight solar-lid system, currently in the process of a pilot study for application to eco-friendly vehicle models, includes a structure that mounts solar panels on a bonnet and roof combined, in order to maximise energy output.
The solar charging system is composed of a solar panel, a controller, and a battery. When a 100W solar panel is equipped, in 1 Sun standards (Summer noon, 1000 W/ intensity of radiation) it produces 100Wh of energy per hour.
Hyundai says it will launch the first generation of this technology into its vehicles after 2019.