Korean car manufacturer Hyundai will adopt solar panel charging technology for electric and hybrid vehicles from next year, including cars released under the Kia brand.
The transparent solar panels can be built into the roof of the vehicles and even provide additional electrical energy for fuel-driven cars.
Hyundai and Kia branded vehicles will gain improved mileage, reduced CO2 emissions and improved fuel efficiency in the case of hybrid and petrol cars, it is claimed.
Three types of solar roof panelling are in development. One is specifically for hybrid vehicles and is capable of charging between 30 to 60 per cent of the battery over the course of a day, depending on weather conditions.
The second is for vehicles with internal combustion engines and can be used in panoramic sunroofs, letting light through to driver and passengers while topping up the car battery.
The last will be for electric cars and is currently in the testing phase. As well as applied to the roof, it can be mounted on the hood in order to maximise energy output.
"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," said Hyundai Motor Group's Jeong-Gil Park.
The solar technology announcement comes soon after research in Sweden revealed that future electric cars could even store energy in their body work instead of heavy batteries. The future of EVs is looking rosy.