Teijin and its joint development partner Applied Electric Vehicles have developed a polycarbonate solar roof for future mobility applications. The new solar roof uses Teijin’s Panlite polycarbonate resin glazing for its surface.
Teijin used its proprietary know-how in polycarbonate resin glazing and technologies to integrally mold the roof’s curved surface into an ideal shape, an extremely challenging process in the case of using glass. Not only is the Panlite glazing roof optimally shaped, it achieves the strength and rigidity required for the vehicle roof.
Conventional polycarbonate resin offers excellent impact resistance, but it must be specially processed to realize the level of weather resistance needed for long-term outdoor use. Teijin’s Panlite glazing, however, can easily be given a proprietary hard coating to achieve the 10-year weather durability required for automobiles.
Teijin and Applied EV deployed the solar roof on a prototype EV passenger pod, that was installed on the Blanc Robot—a zero-emission robotic vehicle platform developed by Applied EV using materials and technical support from Teijin. In testing conducted by Applied EV in Australia, the solar cells mounted on the Panlite roof achieved output of about 330W, which is equivalent a conventional solar panel housed under glass.
Blanc Robot with solar roof
Because the vehicle is light and very energy efficient, the benefits of solar charging the Blanc Robot are much greater than the results that can be achieved on a typical EV. Applied EV tests suggest that the solar array can contribute up to 30% of the vehicle’s energy budget in ideal conditions and around 15-20% on a typical day. Under the right conditions this could extend vehicle range for the Blanc Robot by between 30 and 55 kilometers, compared to the same vehicle without a Panlite roof.
Teijin and Applied EV continue to collaborate on the use Teijin’s various material technologies in the development of further EV components, including structural elements, glazing and exterior body panels, with the intention of commencing high volume production in the latter half of 2022. These initiatives, together with ongoing efforts to further enhance the new solar roof, are expected to contribute to the ultimate goal of achieving Japan’s Well-to-Wheel Zero Emission policy, which calls for a 90% reduction in 2010-level greenhouse gas emissions per passenger car by 2050.