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Author's profile photo Lindaa wilsoon

Electric Cars that Use Solar Panels to Charge the Batteries

Electric cars really are the future! British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in 2020 that there will be a ban on the purchase of new diesel or petrol-consuming cars in 2030. The ban was originally set for 2040, but the Prime Minister’s new plan is to ensure the United Kingdom becomes greener as soon as possible.


Because of the government’s new plan, we are forced to accept that we will all be possibly driving electric cars in the near future. However, just because we are making a change, it doesn’t mean that it will limit our choices of cars to drive. Most major car manufacturing brands have responded well to the shift from fuel-consuming cars to electric cars and the big brands are making it very easy for car consumers to make the switch from fuel cars to electric cars. Many car websites, including Exchange My Car, are also offering options to ‘part exchange my car’ for cars that are petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric.


It is interesting to see how electric cars are powered. Some electric cars are hybrid, so they have a little battery and the option for the car owner to use petrol or diesel to power the car when the battery charge runs out. Other cars are pure electric so they either rely on being plugged into a charging unit alone and some even have solar panels attached to the roof of the car as another source of power. This is why we have decided to list the best electric cars that use solar panels to charge the batteries.

Audi A8 (2010- 2017) Model

It is likely that Audi developed this solar panel model for their pre-existing and potential customers who live in countries that have lots of hours of sunlight per year. For example Southern Europe, the USA, Middle East, South-East Asia, and Australia. This is simply because the more intense sunlight a solar panel is exposed to the more charge the solar panel is likely to get.

In the UK, we are able to use solar panels to power our electrics. There was a rise in solar panels being installed on homeowners’ roofs a few years back because when installed correctly, solar panels can generate electricity for a very little cost. However, a question you may be asking yourself is, will a solar panel car work well in little sunlight? The simple answer is, if a car is marketed at a Northern European audience, they will not offer consumers a vehicle that is solely powered by solar electricity as it just wouldn’t work. Luckily, there aren’t any cars available to purchase that are solely solar-powered.

Overall, the Audi is suitable for a wide range of car owners and the solar panels fit seamlessly onto the roof of the car, so the model of the car still looks high-tech and extremely classy.


Toyota Prius Plug-in (2017-present)

This model is actually a plug-in Hybrid, so it is safe to say that Toyota has not yet marketed fully electric vehicles. However, Toyota has cleverly and discretely placed high-tech solar panels on top of the car, so car owners have the option to use solar-powered electric instead of using petrol or diesel all the time. If some car owners are skeptical about taking the leap from petrol/diesel to fully electric, then this is the car that should be considered purchase, car consumers have the option to buy any car, but plug-in Hybrids really do ease car consumers into changing from petrol/diesel to electric and this is why this model of car is one to watch!


Hyundai Ioniq 5 (2021-present)

This model of an electric car is futuristic in its design, and it looks like the style of the car has been inspired by its rival, Tesla. Nevertheless, this car stands out in its own right, as solar panels aren’t a feature of Tesla’s current car models. However, like other solar-paneled cars you cannot rely on the solar panels as a sole source of power, now and again it will need to be plugged into a power source that is designed for charging electric cars, but in the instance where an electric charging point isn’t in close proximity to the car, the solar panels can be used as a complementary charge, to get the vehicle from A to B. As this model has only just been launched this year, it will be interesting to see whether this car becomes a popular option when customers look to purchase an electric car.


Sion by Sono Motors (available for pre-order)

This solar-powered model of car is so innovative and new that it is currently only available for pre-order. Sono Motors is very proud of its new, sleek and stylish design of the solar-powered electric vehicle. Like other, solar-powered electric vehicles it does require charging via an electric car charger, but the company claims that it only takes 35 minutes for the vehicle to be charged at 80% capacity.

Sono Motors has not made it clear about the regions of the world where this car will be available to purchase, maybe there will be a clearer idea of the market this car will be marketed at, at a later date. However, further investigation showed that Sono Motors is a German start-up company, so maybe this vehicle is initially targeted at European and North American markets and there is evidence that European countries such as Sweden and The Netherlands have taken an interest in Sono Motors new solar-powered car initiative.


Final thoughts

It is interesting to see that primarily German and Japanese car manufacturers have taken the lead with producing electric cars that can be solar-powered. However, it is quite a new concept and it will be interesting to see if these types of vehicles will overtake the sales of hybrid, petrol, and diesel-consuming cars in the near future.

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      Author's profile photo Peter Monaghan
      Peter Monaghan

      I am excited by these developments and I am looking forward to more innovation to the point where self-sustaining electric vehicles are commonplace.

      Author's profile photo Lindaa wilsoon
      Lindaa wilsoon
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you for your kind feedback, we are glad you found this post engaging.

      Author's profile photo Robert Harry
      Robert Harry

      Thanks for sharing this good article, it's good to see that now car companies are starting to do this, I bought one of the first electric cars in the market and had to buy separately the solar panels and everything. Now you can even get kits from Renogy with battery chargers, solar panels and they're easy to install if you too want to have full autonomy in your electric car.