Audi said on Wednesday it is currently working with Alta Devices, a subsidiary of Chinese thin-film solar cell maker Hanergy to integrate solar cells into panoramic glass roofs for an upcoming Audi electric vehicle (EV).

The German carmaker wants to integrate solar panels into the panoramic glass roofs on its cars, aiming to increase EV range courtesy of free solar energy Although not the first time solar panels have been baked into EVs, the claim is that this new system will be significantly more efficient.

The prototype of the vehicle with a solar roof will be built by the of 2017, the automaker said, without giving any details on investment and estimated time frame for mass-production.

Solar Cells

The solar cells will be used to harvest solar energy to power air conditioning and other electrical functions, boosting mileage in the process, Hanergy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Eventually, the two companies plan to use solar energy to provide extra primary power, underscoring Audi’s efforts to achieve emission-free mobility.

The German carmaker plans to deliver one-third of its cars with fully electric drivetrains by 2025.

At a later stage, Audi said it hopes to be able to use solar energy to directly charge the traction battery.


Shift to EVs

Audi, which has been dealing with car recalls, prosecutor investigations and persistent criticism from unions and managers over an emissions scandal and its performance post-dieselgate, is currently looking to shift its focus to EVs.

Last month, Audi said it aimed to cut costs by about $12 billion by 2022 to help fund the shift. It is also looking to free up funds for investments in zero-emission technology by developing a new production platform with Porsche, allowing both VW brands to save money by sharing components and modules.

In its statement on Wednesday, Audi said it plans to make three battery-electric models by 2020.

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