The new Hybrid Hyundai Sonata is not available in the United States yet, but it features a new accessory that is catching the attention of commuters and environmentalists alike: a solar panel roof. While the new feature does not power the entire car, it does supply 808 miles of power a year to supplement gasoline and improve fuel efficiency.
Toyota also introduced a new Prius model this summer in Japan which features solar cells on its entire exterior capable of 34 percent efficiency.
Previous attempts at similar designs, including early Toyota Prius models, have explored the potential for solar cars but fell short due to complications, such as the inability to capture solar energy when the vehicle is in motion.
While critics argue that charging an electric vehicle from energy supplied by larger solar sources is more cost and energy-efficient, this new technology opens the door for more diversity in the electric car industry and demonstrates a shift in consumer and producer interest in expanding the market for renewable electric vehicles.