Audi AG has just announced this week that it’s teamed up with Alta Devices, a subsidiary of the Chinese solar company Hanergy, to put thin-film solar cells in glass roofs. The idea is to generate solar energy that helps extend the range of an electric vehicle. Eventually, Audi sees EVs with roofs almost entirely covered in solar cells, using the electricity they generate to power features like air conditioning or seat heaters. One day, the solar roof may even be able to directly charge the battery.
“The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers,” said Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement, in a release. “Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable.”
But while Audi says the solar cells are remarkably efficient and perform well in low light, it didn’t say how much electricity these solar sunroofs will potentially be able to generate or how much sunlight will be required to run something like the air conditioning.