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Solar Roof: Car Roofs that Generate Energy


What if you could install solar panels on your car to generate electricity?
Learn more about Solar Charging Systems and how they work.

Hyundai Motor Company is taking point for an era of solar charging cars. The global automaker is looking to commercialize the Solar Charging technology take mileage the extra mile. This Solar Charging System is an innovative technology that charges the car’s batteries using solar panels installed on the car. 

Why develop the Solar Charging System?

Hyundai Motor Company’s Solar Charging System not only boosts fuel economy but is also eco-friendly.

This spring, Korea experienced extreme fine-dust particles at near-disaster levels. Then during summer, increased greenhouse gas emissions trapped the country in a heat dome. In response, the government proposed a policy where by 2020, Korean automakers will set allowed average greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) under 97.0g/km and fuel economy at 24.3km/l. Setting goals to meet the national policy to decrease emissions and raise fuel economy by 2020, Hyundai Motor Company put forth Solar Charging Systems as a solution. Solar-power was chosen for advantages in boosting mileage, meeting emission standards, vehicle operator convenience, and savings. Definitely hitting multiple targets with a single arrow.

Hyundai and Kia Motor Solar Charging System types

Hyundai Motor Company is developing three separate Solar Charging System; 1st gen. silicone-type solar roof, 2nd gen. translucent solar roof, and 3rd (next) gen. lightweight solar lid.

The Solar Charging System is not intended as a main, but as an auxiliary power source. It works to recharge batteries in motor-powered cars or support power generated by a combustion engine. Hyundai Motor Company is developing three separate solar charging systems; 1st gen. silicone-type solar roof, 2nd gen. translucent solar roof, and 3rd (next) gen. lightweight solar lid. First gen solar roof is a crystalline silicone photovoltaic cell panel attached on a standard roof. Second gen solar roof is designed for combustion-engine vehicles. For greater openness, it comes with the option of translucent design or open-close design. When solar charging systems augmented to a combustion engine vehicle expanded in volume, carbon credits may be awarded significantly towards the cost of observing environmental laws.

Third gen of this technology is a lightweight solar lid undergoing advance research for eco-friendly models. In this model, the solar cells are integrated directly into the car’s lid (e.g. bonnet) and the roof for maximum power output.

How a Solar Charging 
System works

The Solar Charging System’s components are the solar panel, controller, and battery.

The Solar Charging System is composed of the solar panel, controller, and battery. When sunlight enters the cell surface of a solar panel, it is separated electrons and electron holes, creating energy. In the case of a 100 W class solar panel attached, 1Sun unit (summertime midday 1000 W/㎡ light quantity) generates 100 Watts of power. In summary, 1 hour of sunlight can generate 100 Watt-hours of stored energy.

The controller achieves voltage change and MPPT (Maximum power point tracking). The MPPT controls voltage and current in order to raise efficiency of the electric output from the solar cell. This process generates DC power, and once put through the controller, it is changed voltage to the automobile’s standard voltage and saved in the battery or put towards lowering alternator load. 

The benefits of the Solar Charging System

1st gen solar roof system can charge the battery up to 58% in a summer day

1st gen solar roof system can charge the battery up to 58% in a summer day, and up to 30% in a winter day. It goes without saying that carbon emissions decreased markedly. It is a very proactive approach to address the global trend of being more environmentally conscious and austere against carbon emissions.

How is this tech developed?

Hyundai Motor Company is developing novel development strategies, keeping high-efficiency and design aspects in mind while taking initiatives to develop the Solar Charging System.

Hyundai Motor Company’s efforts in the Solar Charging System development is on high-efficiency and design aspects. Goal is set on developing a solar system that maintains vehicle durability while capturing outstanding design language.

Hyundai Motor Company is picking up steam on developing the 1st gen solar roof to be featured on the environment-friendly model that will be released after 2019. The Solar Charging System boosts fuel-efficiency and range, improves convenience, and also addresses issues posed by global environmental standards. Solar energy is here to stay, and soon more vehicles and more aspects of vehicles will take advantage of one of mankind’s oldest source of power.