Kia, Hyundai unveil solar roof tech even for ICE cars

The roof. Source: Hyundai Motor Group (www.hyundaimotorgroup.com)

November 1 (Renewables Now) - Kia Motor Corp (KRX:000270), headquartered in Seoul, and its parent Hyundai Motor Co (KRX:005380) said Wednesday they are planning to launch a solar roof charging technology for electric, hybrid and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels incorporated into the roof or the hood of the vehicles will provide additional power, thus increasing fuel efficiency and range and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Hyundai Motor Group is developing three types of solar roof charging systems -- a first-generation system for hybrid vehicles to be rolled out soon, a second-generation semi-transparent solar roof system for ICE vehicles, and a third-generation lightweight solar roof for electric vehicles (EVs) which is currently in testing.

Hyundai Motor Group will launch the first-generation product in its vehicles from 2019, including future Kias. It will be able to charge 30% to 60% of the battery in a normal day, depending on weather conditions and other environmental factors.

As regards to the second-generation system, the companies pointed out that the semi-transparent solar roof for ICE vehicles is a world-first application for the technology. "Applying solar charging systems to ICE vehicles will help them comply with ever more stringent global environmental laws regulating CO2 emissions."

The solar charging system will feature a 100-W solar panel, a controller and a battery. The produced solar electricity is either converted and stored in the battery, or used to reduce load on the vehicle’s alternating current (AC) generator, thus improving vehicle range.

 “It is an exciting development for us, designing a technology for vehicle owners to help them shift from being energy users to being energy producers.”, summed up the developer of the technology Jeong-Gil Park, Executive Vice President of the Engineering and Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group.

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