Last fall, Hyundai revealed plans to outfit its cars with solar panels. Now, its first car equipped with a solar roof is ready. The New Sonata Hybrid is available now in Korea, and it should arrive in North America soon.
Hyundai hopes that by supporting the vehicle's electric power source, the rooftop technology might help improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. The solar panels are expected to charge 30 to 60 percent of the battery per day. With six hours of daily charging, it could theoretically increase drivers' travel distance by an extra 1,300 km (about 807 miles) per year.
That may not be a huge improvement, but it does show that solar roofs have the potential to give hybrids and EVs a boost. It's also proof that roof-top solar panels don't have to be limited to luxury brands and experimental vehicles.