Audi and Alta Devices, a subsidiary of solar-cell specialist, Hanergy Thin Film Power, plan to work together to integrate solar cells into panoramic glass roofs of Audi models. With this cooperation, the partners aim to generate solar energy to increase the range of Audi electric vehicles. The first prototype will be developed by the end of 2017.
As the first step, Audi and Alta Devices will integrate solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. In the future, because Alta's technology is uniquely flexible, thin, and efficient, almost the entire roof surface is to be covered with solar cells. The electricity generated from the cells will flow into the car's electric system and can supply, for example, the air-conditioning system and seat heaters - a gain in efficiency that has a direct positive impact on the range of an Audi electric vehicle.
"The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Alta Devices and 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 of Audi electric vehicles.
"That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility," continued Martens. The green electricity will be generated by Alta Devices' innovative solar cells. These solar cells are very thin and flexible, hold the world-record for efficiency, and perform extremely well in low light and high temperature environments.
Dr. Jian Ding, SVP of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd., 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 with Audi's drive toward the future of the auto industry, we will define the solar car of the future."
Source and top image: Alta Devices