Audi has announced a joint development project with Alta Devices, a subsidiary of Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, on a solar roof.
The first step will be to integrate the thin-film solar cells into panoramic glass roofs, and then to present the prototype by the end of this year.
It’s expected that the solar cells will eventually cover nearly the entire roof, providing additional electricity for EVs and hybrids – in respect mostly to seat heaters and air conditioning systems, but also to ultimately provide surplus energy to the HV systems for more range.
The efficiency of Alta Devices’ thin-film, flexible solar cells is reported to be over 25%.
“The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable,” stated 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.
The green electricity will be generated by innovative solar cells. They have an efficiency of more than 25 percent, they are very thin and flexible. Furthermore they perform very well also in conditions of low light and high temperature. The solar cells are produced by Alta Devices in California.
Dr. Ding Jian, senior Vice President of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited, CEO of Alta Devices, Inc. and co-leader of the Audi/Hanergy Thin Film Solar Cell Research and Development Project, said: “This partnership with Audi is Alta Devices’ first cooperation with a high-end auto brand. By combining Alta’s continuing breakthroughs in solar technology and Audi’s drive toward a sustainable mobility of the future, we will shape the solar car of the future”.