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Audi to partner with Hanergy on solar technology installation in electric cars

ABR Staff Writer Published 24 August 2017

German luxury auto-brand Audi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hanergy Thin Film Power Group for cooperation on thin film solar cell technology in China.

The thin film solar panels will be installed on the rooftops of Audi’s future electric vehicles, which will power them. To meet this end, the two companies will undertake the new ‘Audi/Hanergy Thin Film Solar Cell Research and Development project’.

The first step is to introduce Hanergy’s thin-film solar cells onto Audi’s models with panoramic roofs. The aim is to add to the EV’s mileage by leveraging energy from the Sun.

For now, tapping directly from the Sun is expected to power a regular car’s internal electrical system including the air conditional and other electrical appliances. In the future, the same technology could be used to feed the battery of an electric vehicle, thus creating an additional primary power for vehicles.

Through this collaboration, the two companies opine that these advances will not only help Audi in achieving its ambitions of cleaner and emission-free mobility, but can also open a window of opportunities to expand the thin-film solar technology.

Audi expects to produce a prototype vehicle (powered by internal combustion engines) with thin-film solar roofs by the end of this year.

The thin-film solar panels have to have a high power-to-weight ratio and hence, Gallium Arsenide-based solar films are being used for the project.

By 2020, the subsidiary of Volkswagen plans to introduce a new product range with three electric vehicles. And by 2025, Audi expects to have a third of its vehicles with fully electric drivetrains.

Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement Bernd Martens said: "The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable.

At a later stage, solar energy could directly charge the traction battery of Audi electric vehicles. "That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility.”

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited Chairman Yuan Yabin said: "The cooperation with AUDI AG is an important milestone in the application of Hanergy's mobile energy technology in the automotive sector. Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited is the world's leading thin film solar energy company committed to providing its partners with the best mobile energy products and solutions.

“Its wholly-owned US subsidiary Alta Devices possesses the most efficient flexible GaAs thin film solar technology which can provide the best clean power solutions to automakers. As the automotive industry is striving for green mobility,

“I believe that the cooperation between the two sides will convey the message of green development to the world through the efforts from the traditional and emerging industries, while revealing the confidence and action from both sides in protecting the environment."


Image: Audi to use Hanergy’s thin film solar panels of its vehicles rooftops. Photo: Courtesy of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited/ PR Newswire Association LLC.