Audi and Hanergy cooperate for thin-film solar technology
Audi and Alta Devices, a U.S. subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, are working on a development project to integrate thin-film solar cells into the panoramic glass roofs of Audi models. The goal is to generate solar energy to increase the range of electric vehicles. The first prototype is expected by the end of 2017.
The companies say Audi and Hanergy will integrate Alta Devices’ thin-film solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. In the future, almost the entire roof surface is to be covered with solar cells. The Electricity generated by cells in the glass and, eventually, over the entire roof surface will help offset usage by such systems as AC units or seat heaters, thereby helping to increase an electric vehicle’s range.
“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.
Audi intends to deliver one third of its cars with fully electric drivetrains to customers by 2025.
Alta Devices’ gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar cells were chosen because of their efficiency and their thin and flexible properties. Furthermore, they perform well in conditions of low light and high temperature.