In this episode, Volkswagen unveils an all-autonomous concept vehicle and a solar rooftop for your EV. Welcome to your Manufacturing Minute.
Volkswagen has pulled back the curtain on another concept vehicle designed for the future of autonomous driving. Named Sedric, the fully autonomous vehicle has no steering wheel or pedals and can be summoned at the push of a button for ride-hailing trips. Think Uber or Lyft.
VW showed Sedric off at the Geneva Auto Show and the company says it’s using Sedric to highlight the importance self-driving vehicles are for the future of the automaker. With an approaching face and winking digitized headlights, Sedric is part of a growing trend to transform the family vehicle into something more akin to a family pet.
Sedric was developed by two separate think tanks at VW as an idea board from which ideas can be plucked from where design elements and technological features will appear in production vehicles in future years.
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
How long until we don’t directly control the family vehicle anymore? What features and benefits would these vehicles need to gain quick and wide acceptance? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below.
A Solar Rooftop for your EV
For years, solar rooftops had usually been reserved for the spectacle and wow factor of over-the-top concept cars. That is, until 2012 when Toyota became the first mainstream automaker to introduce a Prius hybrid plug-in model that offered an optional solar photovoltaic roof.
And now, years later, Toyota is upping their game to increase the wattage of the same solar rooftop design from 50 to 180 watts. Developed by Panasonic, the HIT Photovoltaic Module for Automobile is the first solar generating roof designed to recharge the car’s lithium-ion powertrain battery, as well as the standard 12-V battery.
And with this boost in wattage, Toyota says that the new-and-improved solar roof could increase the Prius’s efficiency by up to 10 percent — adding roughly 2.2 miles of range in ideal weather conditions. Over time, the automaker says the add-on could increase the life of the vehicle.
The only real problem is that Panasonic’s solar cells are laminated in a resin atop the Prius’s curved glass. But the reinforced glass sheeting, so far, hasn’t been able to pass rollover crash test in the states, meaning this solar rooftop option is currently only available in Europe and Japan.
The price of this improved solar roof option translates to around $1,840 .
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you think Panasonic will partner with other makers of electric vehicles? Do you think the Tesla Model 3, for instance, might have an optional solar roof available for purchase?
Tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews or leave your comments in the section below.
That’s all the time we have for today, but tune in every Tuesday and Thursday for your next Manufacturing Minute.