Audi has partnered with Alta Devices to build electric vehicles with solar panels that generate solar energy to increase the range of electric vehicles.
Alta Devices is a subsidiary of Hanergy, a Chinese company that integrates thin-film solar cells into panoramic glass roofs. Audi says the first prototypes of these vehicles will be built by the end of 2017.
As the first step, Audi and Hanergy want to integrate Alta Devices’ thin-film solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. In the future, almost the entire roof surface is to be covered with solar cells.
The electricity they generate will flow into the car’s electrical system and can supply for example the air-conditioning system or the seat heaters – a gain in efficiency that has a direct positive impact on the range of an electric vehicle.
“The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Installing 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.