Business / Motoring

Bright future for Hanergy solar cars

By Yan Weijue ( Updated: 2016-07-04 15:37

Hanergy Holding Group Ltd, China's leading privately-owned clean energy provider, launched a range of concept solar-powered cars in Beijing on July 2, marking a major step in the auto industry.

A globally leading enterprise in thin-film solar power generation, Hanergy hopes that by tapping into the solar car market it can bring about a revolution to the new energy vehicle industry, said founder and chairman Li Hejun.

Bright future for Hanergy solar cars

Li Hejun, founder and chairman of Hanergy Holding Group Ltd, speaks at a launching ceremony of four solar-powered cars in Beijing, July 2. [Photo provided for]

The four concept models revealed on Saturday are equipped with thin-film solar batteries measuring 3.5 to 7.5 square meters, capable of generating 8 to 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity on a daily basis, enough for 80 kilometers of driving, according to the company's vice president Gao Weimin.

The streamline cars also have lithium batteries for when there is no solar energy and to accommodate long-distance travel up to 350 km, Gao added.

With an effective solar power system serving as the backbone, the Hanergy cars also adopt much of the latest Internet technology.

The intelligent control system, for instance, can precisely reflect the remaining driving distance and hours based on constant, real-time data and analysis of the car's geographic position, traffic and weather.

Drivers can check up on all the information about their Hanergy car anytime via a computer or mobile phone.

Bright future for Hanergy solar cars

The Hanergy Solar R is a sports car with thin-film solar cells placed on its hood, roof and side panels. [Photo provided to]

China has been actively promoting clean energy-powered vehicles to curb air pollution in recent years. New energy vehicle ownership, though less than 1 million for now, is projected to exceed 5 million by 2020, a goal set by the State Council in an auto industry development plan in 2012.

Most new energy vehicles on the market are electric or plug-in hybrid electric cars. Problems with battery life and lack of charging stations have thus far hampered sales.

Most new energy vehicles are not exactly clean energy cars considering the electricity largely comes from thermal and even fossil power, said Gao.

Solar cars, in comparison, use clean photoelectric power converted directly from the sunlight. If 300,000 solar cars were sold annually, each generating 8 to 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity every day, then the emission reduction would be equal to planting 30 million trees, he added.

Hanergy did not disclose the solar cars' price, saying it expects another two or three years before they go into commercial production, when the cost of battery production is cut by 90 percent.

Hanergy's GaAs battery boasts the world's highest conversion efficiency of 31.6 percent, yet there is still much room for growth towards the theoretical maximum of 50 percent or above.

Bright future for Hanergy solar cars

The two-door Hanergy Solar A weighs 1.2 tons, with its solar cells extends as much as 7.5 square meters, guaranteeing a range of 80 km after 5 to 6 hours of sunlight. [Photo provided to]

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