Cars with solar roofs already exist. Now, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) is attaching a solar-active surface to a car hood. Now the researchers hope it will be ready for mass production.
Researchers in Freiburg, Germany, have developed a thin solar cell film for car hoods. According to project leader Martin Heinrich of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), the film can be customized to match the color of the car.
The first prototype has already been mounted on the hood of a production car. "Now we are looking for development partners to further improve the surface and then go into mass production with a car manufacturer," Heinrich said. He estimates the pure manufacturing costs for a hood film at around 100 to 150 euros.
This is how much solar range could be achieved
A study has shown that the solar range of a car in Freiburg, Germany - a comparatively sunny city - can be up to 4,000 kilometers per year. The roof contributes about two-thirds of this, and the hood the remaining third. Solar technology is suitable for both electric vehicles and internal combustion engines.
Carmakers have already added photovoltaics to roofs, Heinrich said. Most of them are glass roofs. The Fraunhofer system is a structure on a metal surface, he said. "The technology could also be used on metal car roofs. This would have the advantage of being much lighter than photovoltaic car roofs made of glass," says Dr. Harry Wirth, head of the Power Solutions division at Fraunhofer ISE. "The expansion of the technical possibilities for integrating photovoltaics into vehicle bodies will convince more and more customers; there is still a lot of potential to be tapped.
Source: Fraunhofer ISE