Hyundai has unveiled its first vehicle equipped with a solar rooftop. The technology allows it to generate energy, increasing its range and reducing its CO2 emissions.
Hyundai's first model to be equipped with this new definition of "sun roof" will be the hybrid version of its Sonata. It will allow for the further reduction of its CO2 emissions by improving its energy efficiency with a roof featuring an array of silicon solar panels along with a battery to stock its solar-generated electricity. Driving up to six hours per day recharges the battery by up to 60%, offering up to 1,300 extra kilometers over a year.
The Hybrid Sonata is only available in South Korea for the moment, but will soon be available in North America, with more markets to come in the future.
The solar roof concept is gaining traction with auto manufacturers recently. The new Toyota Prius rechargeable hybrid is already equipped with a similar technology (and an even bigger solar panel array), along with its own new technology that draws hot air in to create additional power. Depending on the weather, the system can help the car get an extra 5 kilometers in range a day.
On the more extreme end, Dutch company Lightyear is developing an electric car that is completely covered in solar panels, with a potential range of 700km. The project should see the light of day in 2021.