Hyundai Launches Eco-Friendly Car With Solar Roof Charging System

This new technology could change the way we power our cars.

(Courtesy Hyundai)

Solar power can heat the water in your home, provide renewable electrical power, and now, it can also charge your car with an eco-friendly solar roof on the new Hyundai Sonata hybrid.

The company just launched a roof charging system that will improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, and prevent battery discharge because it will use solar power to charge the battery even while you are driving according to a Hyundai news release.

“Solar roof technology is a good example of how Hyundai Motor is moving towards becoming a clean mobility provider. "The [new] technology allows our customers to actively tackle emissions issue” Heui Won Yang, senior vice president and head of body tech unit of Hyundai Motor Group said in the release.

“We are striving to further expand the application of the technology beyond eco-friendly vehicle line up to vehicles with internal combustion engine,” he said.

The new Sonata hybrid includes silicon solar panels that are mounted on the roof that can charge the battery 30 - 60 percent per day even while driving. The company said that it can increase the distance the car will go by an extra 1,300 kilometers per year.

Because hybrids have a smaller battery than all electric cars, a solar roof can make a larger difference in charging according to Digital Trends.

Hyundai explained that the solar system is comprised of the solar panels and a controller that creates electricity when solar energy activates the panel's surface which in turn creates the electron-hole pairs that generate electricity.

This electricity is converted to the standard voltage by the controller and stored in the car's battery. The roof can charge when the car is parked and when it is driving.

The new 2020 Sonata is currently on sale in Korea and will launch in the US soon, but it is not known if the solar roof will be included. There are no plans at this time to introduce the car in the European market.

This is not the first time that a solar paneled car has been introduced. According to Digital Trends, Toyota has covered the hood of a Prius plug-in hybrid with solar cells and it is in the testing stage.

Another company, Lightyear has launched a prototype of an all solar car. it is not being manufactured yet but orders are being taken for 100 units of the prototype.

While the Hyundai solar roof car is not a completely solar operated car, and the new Lightyear is not being manufactured yet, they are both giant steps forward in the quest for sustainable transportation and the elimination of the use of fossil fuels.

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