Originally posted on CleanTechnica
Hanergy Holding Group may not be a household name in America, but it’s the world’s largest thin-film solar companies, and it will apply its expertise to solar powered cars. By October, Hanergy CEO Li Hejun told reporters that the company will launch as many as five solar-powered cars this October, reports Forbes.
Working with three domestic and two foriegn companies, Hanergy wants to make solar-powered cars a big thing in China, though the sun won’t be their only means of power. Hanergy is also working with Tesla on a solar-powered “supercharging network”, which could be a hint that somebody has finally taken up Elon Musk’s offer to Tesla’s patents for free.
That’s just speculation on my part though, as Hanergy’s announcement is quite light on details on the moment. Though the five-car lineup indicates a serious level of commitment, the extremely limited range of 80 to 100 km, or about 50 to 60 miles per charge, will also limit the market’s interest in an admittedly awesome idea.
It’s important to take this story with a grain of salt though, as Hanergy is currently under investigation for “unconventional” accounting practices relating to its unprecedented success in the notoriously difficult solar industry. That said, Hanergy does have some high-profile deals with the likes of IKEA and other corporate juggernauts, so its not just a paper dragon either. Solar-powered cars have long been an environmentalist wet dream, and if a group of Australian college students can build a functional and record-breaking solar car for mass production, I don’t see why Hanergy can’t either.
Breaking into the auto industry isn’t easy though, as Henrik Fisker found out, though a number of increasingly non-car companies like Foxconn are trying to break into the electric vehicle market. Can Hanergy succeed with solar cars where so many others have failed?