Audi teams up with Hanergy to plan sun-powered auto roofs

Gladys Abbott
August 24, 2017

Audi is working with Alta Devices, a sub-division of Hanergy, to develop thin solar panels that can be integrated into the panoramic glass roof of a vehicle. Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited is the world's leading thin film solar energy company committed to providing its partners with the best mobile energy products and solutions.

Initially, Audi says, the solar panels will be used to offset some of the power draw from cabin technology, such as the air conditioning or seat heaters.

Alta Devices now holds the world solar efficiency record of 31.6 per cent for its dual junction thin-film solar cell.

Audi says it could one day be possible for the solar cells to directly charge the battery, minimising the number of stops you'd need to make at a recharging station on a long journey, or reduce the amount of time the auto needs to be plugged in at home.

Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement Dr. Bernd Martens said: "The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers". Two parties will jointly undertake the "Audi/Hanergy Thin Film Solar Cell Research and Development project". Since light vehicle bodies and limited vehicle roof areas require solar cells with a high power-to-weight ratio. "That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility", added Martens.

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"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 vehicle of the future".

He said the solar cells had an efficiency of more than 25%, and that they were "very thin and flexible".

Until now, Alta Devices' biggest markets have been in the aerospace sphere, in particular, powering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). 100 percent subsidiaries of AUDI AG include Audi Sport GmbH (Neckarsulm), Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. (Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy) and Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (Bologna, Italy).

"By combining Alta's continuing breakthroughs in solar technology with Audi's drive toward the future of the auto industry, we will define the solar vehicle of the future", he said.

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