Alta Devices, a subsidiary of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Audi AG on strategic cooperation in flexible GaAs thin film cell technology.
Audi and Hanergy will introduce the solution of integrating thin-film solar cells in the panoramic roof of Audi models. It is aimed to prolong the endurance mileage by feeding solar energy into the internal vehicle electrical system – including air conditioning and other electrical appliances.
In the long term, by using technologies from both sides, the two parties plan to gradually transition to use 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 clear vision of emission-free mobility, but 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.
Electric drive systems are essential for future automobiles at Audi. By 2020, the product range will include three 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. 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 remarked at the signing ceremony, “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.”
Ding Jian, senior Vice President of Hanergy, CEO of Alta Devices and co-leader of the Audi/Hanergy project, said: “This partnership with Audi is Alta Devices’ first cooperation with a high-end auto brand. By combining Alta’s continuing breakthroughs in solar technology and Audi’s drive toward a sustainable mobility of the future, we will shape the solar car of the future.”
“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 member for procurement 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.