The use of solar panels has become widespread and you can drive around the country and see solar panel fields that capture the energy of the sun, transform it into electric energy, and send it to homes around the country. These fields are large, expansive, and covered with hundreds of solar panels that capture this energy. Unfortunately, cars are small, comparatively, and a solar panel on the roof is only a fraction of the size of what one of these fields or even one row of the solar panels offer in size. Hyundai and Kia are now developing a way to use solar power charging to fuel some of their top models including the Optima and Sonata.
Solar Power Charging Proven Useful
While it’s easy to understand that capturing solar power in the panels of the fields is made possible by the square footage of the panels used to transform solar power into electricity. The largest surface of the vehicles we drive is the roof, which some automakers feel needs to remain a part of the structure of the vehicle. In fact, solar roofs on vehicles aren’t allowed in some countries. Right now, the only place we see solar panel roofs on cars is with the Toyota Prius Prime that’s offered in Japan and Europe.
More Solar Panels on the Way
Hyundai and Kia will begin to make use of roof or body-mounted solar panels to add power back to the battery pack of a hybrid or EV to have more range for the ride. These two brands will start making use of solar panels next year and these panels will be affixed to the different models such as the Kia Niro or the Hyundai Ioniq to make sure you can have more of what you need for the drive. There’s also the consideration for adding the solar panels to the Sonata or Optima for the drive.
What Will These Panels Add?
The new solar panels that will be added could add 30 to 60 percent of the power for a hybrid vehicle over the course of a day while an EV will receive some added range that would be able to be used. This new solar power charging system would make it easy for you to park your vehicle, even when there aren’t charging locations nearby, and know that your vehicle will have a stronger charge when you return to take it out on the road and drive where you need to go every day. The maximum charging capacity for these systems is rated at 100 watts.
Adding Charging Capabilities Leaves Questions
By adding the ability to receive a bit more charge in the system throughout the day, the questions will have to do with pricing and safety. Some countries don’t allow solar panel roofs because of the fear of a lack of structural integrity. Additionally, the cost associated might not be worth the added charge. Electric vehicles are already expensive when compared to the distance they can drive, but those of us who want to have the most useful green vehicles on the market will likely look at hybrid and EV models with solar power charging systems in the near future.