A prototype of the next-generation Hyundai Sonata was recently spied testing on the streets of South Korea. While that alone is pretty interesting, what makes the prototype in question particularly intriguing is that its roof has been adorned with solar panels.
The image above, snapped by The Korean Car Blog, shows a Sonata testing with black fabric covering most of its redesigned body panels. Look at the roof and you’ll notice it is made up almost entirely of solar panels.
Of course, there are a number of production vehicles that have been available with solar panels on their roofs. For example, the 2010 Toyota Prius was offered with such a roof and in Japan, the Toyota Prius Prime can also be equipped with solar panels on its roof. In this application, the roof provides enough power to run the vehicle’s accessories and can charge the lithium-ion battery pack, offering up to 3.7 miles of additional electric range per day.
If Hyundai intends on offering a similar roof on the Sonata, it will obviously only do so on a range-topping Hybrid or Plug-In Hybrid model. However, it remains to be seen how much energy could be generated by this roof but on visual inspection, it does look considerably larger than the solar roof offered for the Prius Prime.
Beyond its new roof, the new Sonata will adopt an overhauled design reflective of the company’s more stylish philosophy recently introduced by the Le Fil Rouge concept car and it just might be closely related to the European 2019 i40, too, though there’s still no official confirmation on that.
Elsewhere, the new Sonata will receive new and revised powertrains, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a CVT.
Hat tip to Jose!
Note: 2018 Hyundai Sonata pictured below.