New Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to be solar powered

Solar roof charging system will supplement 30 to 60 per cent of car’s battery power

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will be the Korean automaker’s first car with a solar charging system built into the roof. With 6 hours of daily charging, it is expected to increase drivers’ travel range by an extra 1,300 km annually.

The solar roof charging system consists of a structure of silicon solar panels mounted on the car’s roof. Capable of being charged while being driven, the solar roof system will supplement between 30 to 60 per cent of the battery per day, improving fuel efficiency and driving range while reducing CO2 emissions.

The system is composed of a solar panel and a controller. Electricity is produced when solar energy activates the solar panel’s surface, which converts this energy by using photons of light from the sun. This creates the electron-hole pairs in silicon cells, which generate solar electricity which is then converted to the standard voltage by the controller, and stored in the battery.

Although the Hyundai solar roof system currently only provides a supporting role, it is a step forward in reducing reliance on vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

Aside from the solar roof charging system, the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is equipped with the world’s first Active Shift Control (ASC) technology. It boasts a hybrid-exclusive design with enhanced dynamic elements, as well as a Smartstream G2.0 GDi HEV engine and 6-speed hybrid transmission. Hyundai’s new model also supports a ‘Digital Key’ function via a dedicated smartphone app.

The new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is now on sale in Korea and will soon be sold in North America. Hyundai currently has no plans to expand sales of this model to the European market.

Hyundai has been actively developing alternative energy vehicles over the last few years. Apart from the three Hyundai Ioniq models and the newly launched the solar powered Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Hyundai has also introduced the hydrogen-fuelled Hyundai Nexo SUV and the all-electric Kona SUV