Thin-film solar cells in panoramic glass roofs of Audi models: Audi and Alta Devices, a subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, are working together on this development project.
With this cooperation, the partners aim to generate solar energy to increase the range of electric vehicles. The two sides plan to jointly present an Audi vehicle prototype featuring an integrated prototype solar roof solution by the end of 2017.
As the first step, Audi and Hanergy want to 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 they generate will flow into the car’s electrical system and can supply for example the air-conditioning system or the seat heaters – a gain in efficiency that has a direct positive impact on the range of an electric vehicle.
“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.
Audi takes the target of zero emissions seriously. That’s why besides innovative fuels, electric drive systems are essential for future automobiles at Audi. By 2020, the product range will include three attractively designed and efficient battery-electric cars. By 2025, Audi intends to deliver one third of its cars with fully electric drivetrains to customers.
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”.