Smart forvision Series: Solar Panels Illuminate and Energize

The smart forvision concept car was designed with solar panels on the roof to provide a supplemental energy source to the battery-powered system. This additional supply of energy helps increase the range of the vehicle.

"This is the first transparent solar panel technology in the world," says Dr. Ingmar Bruder, researcher at BASF, who developed the cells together with his team. "One of our strengths at BASF is that we have been producing dyes for almost 150 years. We added a value to the dye, which now can transform sunlight into electricity and provide energy to the car."

"This is the first transparent solar panel technology in the world," says Dr. Ingmar Bruder, researcher at BASF.

Our team developed the organic -chemical dye that can be absorbed by the titanium dioxide layer of the solar cell. The dye is activated by light and can bring energy to the car. The cells are hexagonally shaped and incorporated into the rooftop of the smart forvision design producing enough energy to run both the multi-media and ventilation systems, even in low-light conditions. When the car stands in the sun, the photovoltaic system powers the fan to keep the inside of the car cool.

When the car stands in the sun, the photovoltaic system powers the fans to keep the inside of the car cool.When the car stands in the sun, the photovoltaic system powers the fans to keep the inside of the car cool.

Aside from the obvious energy efficiency gains, an added benefit lies in the customizable, aesthetic features this technology provides. The smart forvision includes 129 of the transparent solar cells offering a "glass ceiling" ambiance for the passengers, which supplies natural light to the car. Plus, drivers can also choose the color of the cells!

The technology is concurrently high tech and simple.  High tech because a dye can extract energy from the sun, but simple because the solution was found within a technology where we have great expertise. The dye solar cells make an important contribution to the provision of renewable and affordable energy for the future because of their product properties, as they can harness energy from surfaces that are not yet amenable to the technology, such as car roofs, the walls of buildings, windows, and flexible textiles.

Check out the video for more information.

About smart forvision-

This concept car was collaboration between BASF and smart, the automotive manufacturer.  It is designed to mitigate the largest challenges facing the automotive industry today- light weighting, energy efficiency and temperature management. This car features many innovative BASF technologies that address these challenges.