Aston Martin Racing and Hanergy, a solar energy company, have renewed their partnership to further the development of the Aston Martin Vantage GTE race car. Under this UK partnership, the two companies will improve both the Aston Martin GTE’s performance using solar panels affixed to its roof and Hanergy’s automotive solar technology.
The thought of using solar panels to improve race car performance may sound odd to you. In this context, ‘performance’ isn’t only speed, but the overall success of the Aston Martin GTE during races. Longer range could thus result in fewer pit stops to recharge/refill (pit stops are time-consuming and too many can cost AMR races).
Hanergy’s solar panel technology could theoretically generate 300 watts atop the Aston Martin GTE’s roof (300% more than it does now)! This could take a significant load off of the alternator, extend the vehicle’s range, and make it a little greener. Taking a load off the alternator makes a little power available to the car, enabling it to go a little faster, according to Dan Sayers, the technical director of AMR.
Why this partnership is important: Race car technology often trickles down into commuter cars. A car roof-mounted solar panel could be used to power the air conditioning in advance, so that you don’t get burnt the next time you enter your car. If it wasn’t for this partnership, this efficient solar technology may not have been developed.
In addition to that, the companies note:
Since last year, the collaboration has resulted in several improvements, which include durability in all weather conditions and resistance to the vibrations when the car is moving at high speeds, The solar modules are used to charge the main battery, which powers a number of functions inside the car, including the air conditioning system. Further improvements to the power output from the solar panels are planned for this year, which will enable the alternator to be used less frequently, reducing its demands on the engine and consequently improving the Aston Martin GTE’s performance under race conditions.