Sunday 15 September 2019

CorkHi10°| Lo

Cork Independent

Motors

Hyundai’s solar roof can get you 1,300km extra driving per year

Thursday, 22nd August, 2019 8:49am

Hyundai now offers an option that can, it claims, gain you an extra 1,300km worth of annual mileage for free.

It’s a solar roof, attached to the Sonata Hybrid, and it can help to keep the car’s hybrid battery charged, which means that it goes further on a tank of fuel.

Don’t get too excited, nor start running to your local Irish Hyundai dealer just yet — the Sonata Hybrid isn’t sold here (it’s a US market only car for now) but the technology is fascinating, and shows how small, relatively simple additions can make a big dent in both motoring costs and envrionmental impact.

The Sonata Hybrid now comes with the solar roof as standard, and according to Hyundai’s claim, six hours of sunlight

on the roof per day is enough to gain you an extra 30-60 per cent of battery

charge.

By charging the battery for free, essentially, this reduces the strain on the car’s engine, and provides more zero-emissions running time around town, and on average that adds up to an improvement in fuel economy worth those extra annual kilometres.

“Solar roof technology is a good example of how Hyundai Motor is moving towards becoming a clean mobility provider. The technology allows our customers to actively tackle emissions issue. We are striving to further expand the application of the technology beyond eco-friendly vehicle lineup to vehicles with internal combustion engine,” said Heui Won Yang, Senior Vice President and Head of Body Tech Unit of Hyundai Motor Group.

Sadly, Hyundai has no plans to bring the Sonata to Europe as yet, but the technology could cross the pond in a future i40 replacement, or for the next-generation Tucson.

It also raises the question of why we can’t just put solar panels on electric cars and drive them around for free.

Well, sadly, we can’t and it’s all a question of surface area.

Elon Musk, in one of his famously un-thought-out comments, once suggested doing just that — fitting a solar panel to a Model S and driving it around without ever having to plug in. He backtracked later, having to admit that (as Montgomery Scott so sagely reminded us) you cannot change the laws of physics.

The trick is that while solar panels have become much more efficient over the years (and could, potentially, one day be sufficiently efficient to supply all of humanity’s energy needs) they’re still not all that great, in efficiency terms.

In fact, of the amount of sunlight falling on them, only around 15-20 per cent of that energy is converted to electrical power — about 200 watts per square metre. Cover a car the size of a Tesla Model S in solar panels, and sit it in the sun for eight hours, and you’d have gathered enough energy to drive it for around 3km. By contrast, eight hours charging from a domestic socket would give you more than 200km range.

Sadly, we’re not going to be driving around on free solar energy any time soon.

At least not by fitting solar panels to our cars. Solar panels on our houses is a different story…Neil Briscoe

neil.briscoe@mac.com

ePaper Service

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Desktop, Tablet & Smartphone friendly
Cookies on Cork Independent website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Cork Independent website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Cork Independent use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message