Alta's thin film solar cells to help power Audi EVs
Deal signing. Image by Hanergy.
US solar technology firm Alta Devices Inc and German carmaker Audi AG (ETR:NSU) will work together to put high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) cells on the roof of automobiles, with the first prototype coming by end-2017.
Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on strategic cooperation, the partners will start with the integration of Alta’s thin film solar cells into the panoramic glass roofs of Audi models. The first Audi vehicle prototype featuring an integrated prototype solar roof solution is coming this year, according to a joint press release from Tuesday. At a later stage, it will be possible to almost fully cover the car roof with PV cells.
Audi and Alta explain that the solar cells could power the air-conditioning system, the seat heaters or other features, thus extending the range of an Audi electric vehicle (EV). Building on that, it could be possible to use solar to directly charge the EVs’ traction battery in the future.