Kia and Hyundai have announced plans to implement solar charging technology on the roofs or hoods of selected vehicles. These include those powered by conventional internal combustion engines (ICE), hybrid, and battery electric vehicles, with the aim of increasing fuel efficiency and range.

According to an official release, three types of solar roof charging systems will be developed by the Hyundai Motor Group for each vehicle type, ensuring the batteries used are kept charged for more Earth-friendly motoring.

The first-generation system will be applied to hybrid models, and will feature a structure of silicon solar panels that are integrated into a standard car roof. This setup is capable of charging 30 to 60 percent of the battery over the course of a normal day, subject to weather conditions and other environemental factors.

For cars with ICEs, a semi-transparent solar roof will be used, which is being described as a world-first. This system can be incorporated with an existing panoramic sunroof, allowing natural flight to flood the cabin, whilst keeping the vehicle’s battery charged with less dependency on the alternator.

As for the system dedicated to battery electric vehicles, the Korean company says it is currently in testing, and is designed to be applied to the car’s hood and roof for maximum energy output.

Of course, some of these technologies aren’t new as vehicles like the Toyota Prius and previous-generation Nissan Leaf already come fitted with them. Nonetheless, they are necessary to help Kia and Hyundai comply with ever more stringent environmental laws globally.

“In the future, we expect to see many different types of electricity-generating technologies integrated into our vehicles. The solar roof is the first of these technologies, and will mean that automobiles no longer passively consume energy, but will begin to produce it actively,” said the developer of the technology Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of the Engineering and Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group.

“It is an exciting development for us, designing a technology for vehicle owners to help them shift from being energy users to being energy producers,” he added. The first-generation of this technology (for hybrid models) will be launched after 2019.