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Audi Goes Solar

Making a greener battery car.

by on Dec.03, 2010

A prototype Audi eTron draws power from a solar-based charger, a system that will be used extensively at the assembly plant in Ingollstadt.

They’re called “zero-emission vehicles,” but skeptics often question just how environmentally-friendly battery cars are, citing the fact that, at least in the U.S., a large share of our electric power comes from coal.

Audi aims to modify skeptics, as it begins ramping up for the eventual production of its eTron battery-electric vehicles, by covering the roof of its Ingollstadt assembly plant with solar panels.  Eventually, that power will help give a truly emission-free first charge as eTrons begin rolling off the line.

By the end of the year, Audi says it should have more than 80,000 square feet of photovoltaic cells in place, with the eventual goal of expanding to 205,000 square feet.  Considering the steady improvement in the efficiency of photo cell technology, the latest addition alone is anticipated to provide about 460 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough current to power 180 homes.  All told, Audi expects to produce about 1,500 MWh from its various solar installations.

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“This concept shows that Audi is tackling the topic of electromobility systematically,” said Plant Manager Peter Kössler. The photovoltaic installation uses innovative thin-layer modules that satisfy the most stringent environmental protection, efficiency and flexibility standards. “We aim to set the standards in every area,” added Kössler.

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