The 'solar' roof on your Kia will soon charge your vehicle

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Hyundai and Kia will introduce solar charging panels on selected models from next year.

As for the system dedicated to battery electric vehicles, the Korean company says it is now in testing, and is created to be applied to the car's hood and roof for maximum energy output.

Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai will adopt solar panel charging technology for electric and hybrid vehicles from next year, including cars released under the Kia brand. The vehicle can then use that energy to reduce engine usage, thus increasing fuel economy and cutting Carbon dioxide emissions.

Generation one will be made for PHEVs, the second generation of tech will be made for internal combustion engines, and the third generation will be made for EVs. This system is capable of charging 30 to 60% of the battery over the course of a normal day, depending on weather conditions and other environmental factors. That will be followed by a third system for fully electric vehicles, which will feature solar panels on both the roof and bonnet to maximise energy output. Following solar roofs, Hyundai and Kia plan to introduce panels that can be used on the hood or trunk lid of a vehicle. "The solar roof is the first of these technologies, and will mean that automobiles no longer passively consume energy, but will begin to produce it actively", said Hyundai Motor Group's Jeong-Gil Park. It integrates into a panoramic sunroof to simultaneously let light in and charge the vehicle's battery.

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The Korean companies also mentioned they will be coming out with solar body panels, such as ones for the hood and trunk lid, to generate even more power for the system.

Hyundai is set to launch the first generation of the technology for its vehicles after 2019.

Considering the size of solar panels that can be fitted on a conventional car's roof can only produce modest amounts of electricity, it remains to be seen if Hyundai's announcement is actually a practical thing or merely a marketing move. Power generated from this type of roof could be used for the air conditioning and seat heating systems.

"It is an exciting development for us, designing a technology for vehicle owners to help them shift from being energy users to being energy producers".

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