AUDI developing solar panels to help power its electric vehicles


together with alta devices, AUDI are developing thin-film solar panels to be fitted into the panoramic glass roofs of its car designs. this technology aims to generate solar energy in order to increase the range of its forthcoming electric vehicles, such as the already previewed ‘e-tron sportback’. as well as its small size and flexibility, the green innovations claim to have an efficiency of 25% and perform well even in low light conditions.

the AUDI e-tron quattro concept
all images courtesy of AUDI AG

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. ‘that would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility.

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.

an example of the thin-film solar cells to be fitted in panoramic glass roofs of AUDI models

with the first prototype set to be build by the end of 2017, AUDI are teaming up with alta devices, a subsidiary of the chinese solar-cell specialists, hanergy. this development will see the ultra-thin solar cells be placed within the automobiles’ glass roofs, but the german brand are thinking on a much bigger scale in the long term. in the future, they are planning to cover almost the entire top surface with solar cells, enhancing the sun’s energy to power the car’s electrical system, like the air-conditioning, and thus improve the EV’s driving range.