China’s Hanergy Holding Group (Hanergy) has unveiled four solar-powered electric concept cars, set for production within three years. Hanergy is a large clean-energy company and one of the largest thin-film solar cell manufacturers in the world. Hanergy is also the owner of U.S. based Alta Devices, which it bought in 2014.
Much of the technology used in the solar panels that cover the Hanergy cars is based on Alta Devices AnyLight, which was devised as a range-extending technology for electric vehicles.
Hanergy is planning to use this technology to build fully-solar powered cars in the future. The company says the current solar energy conversion rate of its high-end cells is 31.6%. This is expected to go up to 38% in 2020 and 42% in 2025, which would make a fully-solar powered car possible, according to the company.
The four Hanergy vehicles are basically standard electric cars with solar power functioning as an extra source to extend range, like the original Alta Devices concept. The vehicles store energy in lithium ion batteries and can be charged at any charging station.
Hanergy Solar A. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
However, Hanergy has added three crucial new inventions to the technology. Firstly, the vehicles are able to drive on solar power alone. The Hanergy Solar A has a combined range (battery + solar panel) of 350 kilometer and a solar-only range of 80 kilometer.