The integration of solar in new car designs is accelerating. The new Hyundai Sonata is an attempt, like the Lightyear One and Toyota’s new to-be-trialled Prius, to combat the perennial problem faced by EVs, namely, range anxiety.
Hyundai estimates that with six hours of charging in direct sunlight each day, the Sonata Hybrid could gain 1300 kilometers of extra electric driving a year. The solar roof system also works to reduce battery discharge when the vehicle is not in use.
Australia is seeing an uptick in EV deployment, and with its copious sunlight the inclusion of PV technology could further entice car buyers, many of whom are already familiar with the benefits of rooftop solar, to make the switch from petrol or diesel vehicles.
The rapidly growing and interconnected charging network being laid out by companies like Evie Networks and Chargefox is encouraging for EVs. Charging stations are also increasingly deploying onsite battery storage to facilitate fast charging.
The Sonata solar hybrid is set for release in the United States in 2020, however Hyundai Australia is still considering whether the EV is suitable to the local market, according to media reports. Some would say the company would be mad not to.