Audi and Hanergy to Partner on Thin Film Solar Cell Technology

Audi and Hanergy thin film solar
Audi e-tron A3 electric car. Image courtesy of Audi

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited announced that its wholly-owned US subsidiary, Alta Devices, has signed with AUDI AG a Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation in Thin Film Solar Cell Technology.  The two parties will jointly undertake the “Audi/Hanergy Thin Film Solar Cell Research and Development project“.

As the first step, Audi and Hanergy will introduce the solution of integrating thin film solar cells in the panoramic roof of Audi models. The goal is to increase the vehicle’s mileage by feeding solar energy into the internal vehicle electrical system – including air conditioning and other electrical appliances.

Hanergy flexible GaAs thin film cell

Hanergy flexible GaAs thin film cell (PRNewsfoto/Hanergy Thin Film Power Group L)

In the long term, by leveraging the technologies from both sides, the two parties plan to gradually transition to utilize thin film solar technology to feed solar energy into the drivetrain battery to provide additional primary power for vehicles. The project will not only contribute to Audi’s vision of emission-free mobilitybut also advance the application of thin film solar technology for global primary energy generation. The two sides plan to jointly present an Audi vehicle prototype featuring an integrated prototype solar roof solution by the end of 2017.

Audi is taking the target of zero emissions seriously. That’s why besides innovative fuels, electric drive systems are essential for future automobiles at Audi. By 2020, the product range will include three attractively designed and efficient battery-electric cars. By 2025, Audi intends to deliver one-third of its cars with fully electric drivetrains to customers.

Based on this strategic setting, renewable energy – especially solar energy with the characteristics of mobile energy – has become very attractive for Audi to achieve sustainable mobility. Since light vehicle bodies and limited vehicle roof areas require solar cells with a high power-to-weight ratio. Gallium Arsenide (GaAs), a high-efficient, thin, flexible and lightweight thin film solar technology has, therefore, stood out as the primary option for Audi’s panorama sunroof solution.

Chairman Yuan Yabin of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited remarked at the signing ceremony, “The cooperation with AUDI AG is an important milestone in the application of Hanergy’s mobile energy technology in the automotive sector. Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited is the world’s leading thin film solar energy company committed to providing its partners with the best mobile energy products and solutions. Its wholly-owned US subsidiary Alta Devices possesses the most efficient flexible GaAs thin film solar technology which can provide the best clean power solutions to automakers. As the automotive industry is striving for green mobility, I believe that the cooperation between the two sides will convey the message of green development to the world through the efforts from the traditional and emerging industries, while revealing the confidence and action from both sides in protecting the environment.”

“The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable,” stated Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement Dr. Bernd Martens. At a later stage, solar energy could directly charge the traction battery of Audi electric vehicles. “That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility,” continued Martens.

 

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.