China clean energy firm launches range of solar-powered cars
Mon 4 Jul 2016
A range of new solar-powered electric cars has been unveiled in China by green energy company Hanergy, which hopes to see its concept vehicles on the road within the next three years.
Hanergy, one of the largest thin-film solar cell manufacturers worldwide, said that its current optimum solar energy conversion rate is 31.6%. It is looking to boost this to 38% by 2020, and 42% by 2025, to make fully-solar-powered vehicles possible.
The collection of four vehicles are standard EV cars, with integrated solar functionality to extend its power source. The cars are able to store energy in lithium-ion batteries and can be charged at any charging point.
However, Hanergy has introduced three new innovations which mark it from the competition. Firstly, the cars are able to drive solely from the solar energy supply. For example, the Hanergy Solar A model features a combined solar and battery range of 350km and a solar-only range of 80km.
Secondly, the solar panels can be used to power different motors. The Hanergy Solar R vehicle has solar panels fitted on the roof and the bonnet. While the bonnet solar fixture powers the electric motor on the front axle, the roof fitting powers a motor on the rear axle.
Thirdly, the surface of the integrated panels can be extended when the cars are parked to allow for faster charging. Either the windows are stretched out as extra panels, or the roof-based panels can be folded out to provide larger cover. The panels for Hanergy Solar A can be extended out to 7. 5sq.m, which allows for a full solar charge within six hours.
Hanergy further announced a partnership with Foton Motors to develop solar panels for the commercial transport company’s new-energy buses. The solar firm also added that it has arranged further deals with numerous Chinese specialty vehicle manufacturers to integrate solar power into trucks, agricultural machinery and recreational vehicles.