Get Inspired for Car Repair Courses with the Hyundai Solar Roof

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One of the world’s biggest car companies is getting a little greener. Hyundai has officially launched a Sonata Hybrid with solar panels mounted on the roof. The solar panels help give the car a boost in driving range and could be a sign of things to come in environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Though the solar roof-equipped Sonata Hybrid is currently only available in the Korean market, Hyundai plans on bringing it to North America at some point. Here are a few things those studying auto repair courses should know about this exciting new endeavour from Hyundai.

The Solar Panels Give a Boost to the Car’s Driving Range

After initially being unveiled by Hyundai in fall 2018, the company recently revealed some intriguing aspects about what exactly the solar roof panels would do. Specifically, they can charge the vehicle’s battery to between 30 and 60 per cent of its capacity daily. As a result, up to 1,300 km of driving range per year can be added after charging for six hours per day in sunlight. That will help minimize how much time the car would otherwise need to be plugged in for in order to recharge its batteries. Even better, the solar panels work both when the car is being driven and when it is parked.

With this technology, Hyundai hopes the solar panels can significantly limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and increase fuel efficiency. For a company that only started mass-producing hybrid vehicles a decade ago, the Korean automaker has certainly come a long way rather quickly.

The Sonata Hybrid’s Functions Will Wow Those in a Car Repair Course

Hyundai chose the Sonata Hybrid for its first foray into solar-powered vehicles for a reason. Because the Sonata is a hybrid car with a smaller battery pack than most electric cars, the solar roof panels can help improve its charging ability. Plus, it helps boost its environment credentials, which are already pretty good given its 40/46 MPG fuel economy (equivalent to about just under six litres per 100 km).

Hyundai is also planning to add optional solar panels to other models going forward and they are developing a semi-transparent roof to allow more light to enter the car. As a result, students in a car repair course could end up seeing quite a few vehicles on the road with solar panels mounted on them in the future.

Hyundai Isn’t the Only Automotive Company Dabbling in Solar Charging Technology

Although Hyundai’s experiment with solar roof technology is impressive, they aren’t the only ones giving it a spin. In fact, other automotive companies have been developing solar charging technologies of their own in recent years. For example, Toyota has been testing vehicles with roof-mounted solar panels in Japan—namely their Prius Prime (aka the Prius PHV, or Plug-in Hybrid)—to increase the vehicle’s battery charge.

Meanwhile, Dutch automotive startup Lightyear has been developing an electric vehicle called the Lightyear One, which is expected in 2021. Like the Hyundai Sonata, its solar panels will be mounted on its roof. For students learning how to become a mechanic these experiments are an exciting glimpse into the future of the automotive industry.

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