Chinese solar thin film manufacturer Hanergy along with Chinese manufacturer Joylong Automobile have developed a small commercial van with a solar roof. They have conducted extensive tests on the van driving it for approximately 20 km/day in normal sunlight for 30 days at the China Automotive Technology and Research Center. The companies claim that, the solar panel charged the batteries and the car retained about 60% charge at the end of the day without charging it from a charging station.

Hanergy has claimed that after 30 days of operation, charging only using solar energy, the car retained 60% of the charge. Further, the cell maker claimed that, thanks to the rooftop solar film, the battery retained 60-80% of battery charge at the end of each day’s run. Thus adding a further 30-80km of range for an overall daytime range of 50-100km without charging.

As per Hanergy, it started developing the system in 2017 wherein it was able to extend the range of delivery tricycles fitted with solar roof by 20 km. This allowed the vehicles to be used without rechagring for 90 days.

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