The first signs of a potentially revolutionary piece of tech that could prove to be a very significant advance in the road car market made its first tentative appearance in the WEC this weekend as Aston Martin Racing took their first baby steps with solar power tech provided by team partner Hanergy.
The deal with Hanergy, a Chinese solar power specialist manufacturer, is designed to prove via racing advanced solar panels as a supplementary power source to assist powering ancillary systems in automotive applications that would otherwise need to draw power from a vehicles main engine.
The tech can be seen on track at Fuji as two rows of ultra low weight photovoltaic cells on the roof of the #97 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage.
As with any new tech the system will see step by step development, Fuji is a simple mechanical installation, the cells simply installed and not connected, to test the installation. Next up will be installation of a voltage measuring device with the possibility of the system progressing to the point of supplying voltage to the Aston Martin’s live systems before the end of the 2014 FIA WEC season.
The potential for the road car market is obvious, and as a contributor to the mandated green standards for every car maker there’s potential for small manufacturers such as Aston Martin to help meet legislative levels in the future.
As with so many emerging technologies the development curve is near vertical with development parts and systems progressing rapidly, lower weight control boxes and better efficiency.
Will we see the tech emerging on an Aston Martin road car? Don’t bet against it!