As the EV revolution progresses, it makes perfect sense to integrate solar cells into the exterior of cars, particularly on horizontal surfaces like roofs that are perfectly positioned to soak up sunshine and turn it into electrons.
Toyota and Hyundai are already offering solar roofs on some cars. Sono Motors takes the idea even further with its new Sion, embedding solar cells in the hood and the doors of the car.
Now Fraunhofer ISE says it has invented a new way to manufacture a solar roof for vehicles that can be any color the manufacturer wants. The coloration process reduces efficiency by about 7%, but if it helps the solar car roof idea become more popular, the trade-off is worth it.
One secret of the new Fraunhofer ISE solar roof is a shingle-like arrangement of the solar cells, which overlap each other just like shingles on a normal roof.
They are held in place by a special adhesive that doubles as an electrical conductor, eliminating the wires that normally connect solar cells together.
Another secret is a special colored coating inspired by the morpho butterfly, which makes the solar cells nearly invisible.
The new product has a power output of about 210 watts per square meter. After testing the new solar roof over the past year in North America and Europe, Fraunhofer says it can add about 10% to the range of a typical electric car.
Reference- Fraunhofer ISE PR, Clean Technica, Sono motors website