This Volkswagen Concept Car Brings a Solar Roof One Step Closer


Volkswagen has given the public a glimpse of an updated version of its I.D. Crozz concept car, and it hints at a future where electric vehicles charge up their batteries using a solar roof. On Friday, the company uploaded an 18-second video hinting at the feature. During the clip, the camera pans over a transparent sunroof that shimmers in the light, revealing an array of dashes reminiscent of a photovoltaic cell.

The company plans to fully unveil the redesigned concept car during the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, set to run from September 12 to 24. It’s not the first time Volkswagen has demonstrated the I.D. Crozz — the company showed the vehicle at the Auto Shanghai conference in April, with an all-electric range of 310 miles and a launch date of 2020. With this redesign, though, these figures may be subject to change.

As electric vehicles seek to improve range, several automakers have hinted at solar playing a role in the future. In November, Elon Musk said on Twitter that Tesla “will probably” offer solar panels on its cars at some point, but at the National Governors’ Association in July, he somewhat reversed course by suggesting a solar charger for the home would prove a more efficient solution.

That hasn’t stopped automakers from trying, though. Toyota unveiled the Prius Prime in March, capable of charging with 180 watts of output for an added 3.7 miles of range on a sunny day. Volkswagen itself has also signalled its intent to explore photovoltaic cells, with the Audi brand announcing last month plans to work with Alta Devices, a subsidiary of Chinese solar-cell specialist Hanergy, to build a prototype electric vehicle with a glass solar roof by the end of 2017.

“The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers,” Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi board of management member for procurement, said in a statement. “Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable.”

The I.D. Crozz may give a better idea of how Volkswagen sees these panels integrating into the design. Beyond solar, the car features a wide hood, an open space interior thanks to the batteries stored under the floor, and four individual seats creating a “lounge” feel.

View the teaser video below:

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