Hyundai and Kia have unveiled a new solar roof for vehicles to launch next year. The solar panels will be capable of generating electricity as a way to increase fuel-efficiency and range as well as lower CO2 emissions.

Hyundai says the solar panels will feature in the rooftops or hoods of select vehicles "after 2019" and will supplement traditional internal combustion,hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. The parent group said it's developing three different types of solar roof charging systems comprised of a solar panel, controller and battery.

 The first generation will be a silicon solar panel system mounted to the rooftops of hybrid  models, capable of charging 30 to 60 percent of the battery per day, depending on weather conditions and other factors, starting as early as 2020. The second generation involves a semi-transparent solar roof system applied to a panoramic sunroof and capable of charging an electric-vehicle battery or a battery mounted on a gasoline engine. The third generation is still under wraps but is intended to ad solar production capability in the hood and roof of EVs.

The developer of the technology, Jeong-Gil Park, Executive Vice President of the Engineering and Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group, commented:

“In the future, we expect to see many different types of electricity-generating technologies integrated into our vehicles. The solar roof is the first of these technologies, and will mean that automobiles no longer passively consume energy, but will begin to produce it actively. It is an exciting development for us, designing a technology for vehicle owners to help them shift from being energy users to being energy producers.”

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