Following on from the launch of Toyota’s futuristic Prius Prime with ultra-thin solar panels on its roof, bonnet and tailgate and Lightyear’s solar car with a 450-mile range, Hyundai has this week made its first foray into the solar car market.
The Korean auto giant has released a version of its Sonata hybrid that has rooftop solar panels – an adaptation it claims will add up to 800 miles of free charge to the vehicle annually. Hyundai claims that the solar array on the roof of the sedan could supply up to 60% of the power for the vehicle’s battery, provided that the solar roof, which only operates when the car is parked, is used for six hours per day.
Hyundai has confirmed that it plans to sell the solar Sonata in North America and Korea only, and to offer the roof as an optional extra on other models across its electric vehicle (EV) portfolio. However, a price and a release date have not yet been confirmed.