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Source: Pixabay

Panasonic's EV Solar Roof Gives New Meaning To Having A 'Sunroof'

By Brian Spaen

With the limited range being the biggest drawback in electric vehicles, manufacturers are juggling a number of solutions to make them more like normal cars. Some solutions involve charging up the vehicle faster with more power output, for example, while another involves replacing the battery like you would a remote control. The newest, and perhaps most viable method as the tech continues to improve, suggests that incorporating solar panels into the roofs of electric vehicles could add significant range to cars, with little to no additional effort from users.

In general, photovoltaic cells are getting cheaper, and it’s had a big effect in the solar energy industry. Interestingly, something that hasn’t been tapped into very much commercially yet are these panels being installed on top of cars. Panasonic has been one of the more aggressive companies in this field and have already creating solar panels with a capacity of 180 watts for the Japanese version of the newest Toyota Prius hybrid. It adds roughly 3.7 miles of range when parked outside, according to a CleanTechnica report.

Shingo Okamoto, who was behind creating the technology for vehicles at Panasonic, told Bloomberg that this sector of the solar industry will thrive, explaining, “Car roofs have the potential to become a new market for solar panels. We made history in the auto industry and in the solar industry with the sun powering mass-produced cars for the first time in the world.”