New Solar Roof from Panasonic May Help Electric Cars Go the Extra Mile

Research efforts in the area of clean, environment-friendly automobiles continue to bring forth technological advances that have the potential of taking development activities an inch closer to the realization of such futuristic cars. Advances in the field of rechargeable batteries have already allowed the automotive industry to market a large number of cars driven completely on batteries or on a mix of conventional fuel and batteries. Recently, Panasonic Corporation has developed a new solar roof technology, which is expected to allow cars to harness the sun’s power and get a boost in battery charge on the go.

Solar Roof to Charge Electric Vehicle’s Batteries

In a recent press release that informed about the new technology, Panasonic said that the HIT™ Photovoltaic Module for Automobile has already been used for Toyota’s new Prius PHV released in February 2017. Panasonic’s new solar technology uses solar cells with a unique structure, combining an amorphous silicon film and a crystalline silicon substrate. These cells have demonstrated excellent temperature features and high efficiency of conversion in tests.

Power Output Better than Conventional Solar Cells

Conventional solar cells used in automobiles are known to give power output of up to several tens of watts and use that is limited only up to the charging of ventilation power sources and 12 V batteries for parked vehicles. In comparison, the Panasonic solar cells are said to produce a high power output of approximately 180 watts from a small area on the car roof, permitting the charging of 12 V batteries as well as drive li-ion batteries. This could result in the improvement of fuel economy and extension of travel distance of an electrical vehicle.

Moreover, the company has also formulated technologies to 3D curved glass so as to match the Prius PHV’s design and installing the solar modules without impairing the vehicle’s aesthetic appeal and advanced design. This is expected to eventually help improve the vehicle’s environmental performance.

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