Audi has announced that it has teamed up with Alta Devices, a subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, to integrate thin-film solar cells into panoramic glass roofs. The solar roof would then be used to increase the range of electric vehicles.
The goal is to create a solar roof that can generate enough electricity to power features, like a car’s air-conditioning system or seat heaters. Audi and Alta Devices hope to have the first prototype built by the end of 2017.
“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.
The ultimate goal is for the solar energy to be able to directly charge the car’s battery. Audi says that the solar cells have an efficiency of more than 25 percent and that they are very thin and flexible. They are also able to perform very well in conditions of low light and high temperature.
“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, ” stated Dr. Ding Jian, senior Vice President of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited, CEO of Alta Devices, Inc.