Thin-film manufacturer Hanergy claims to have produced the “world’s first commercial solar power vehicle” after a month of testing confirmed its Chinese K-Car ran for 20km daily in “normal” sunlight for 30 days without recharging.
The Chinese company issued a press release on Friday explaining its CIGS thin-film modules had been applied to the roof of a Japanese Kei-Car, the smallest category of vehicle permitted to drive on that country’s highways.
The Chinese K-Car developed by Hanergy Mobile Energy Holding Group’s Hanergy Glory Solar Technology subsidiary and Shanghai-based carmaker Joylong Automobile was reportedly tested at the China Automotive Technology and Research Center.
Hanergy said the vehicle battery retained more than 60% of charge after the 30 days of testing. The cell maker claimed 60-80% of battery charge remained at the end of each day’s run, equating to a further 30-80km of range for an overall daytime range of 50-100km without charging, thanks to the rooftop cells.
With China’s Hainan province set to halt the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from March 1, Hanergy says its K-Car offers a road-tested commercial vehicle solution for daytime use and the company is seeking to work with carmakers worldwide to roll out its solar roof solution.
The company in 2017 extended the range of delivery tricycles fitted with a solar roof by 20km, enabling 79 days of use without recharging, according to Friday’s press release.
Hanergy said it has worked on solar roof systems with Audi and supplied “solar mats” to delivery company DHL for use on its U.K. fleet last year, to power operations such as tail lifting and to extend the range of electric vehicles. The company also mooted its work on Solar Runner #1 delivery vehicles for Chinese couriers STO Express and ZJS Express and its joint project with bus manufacturer TAM-Europe on what it described as China’s first airport shuttle bus with a thin-film solar roof.