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Fiat will be partnering with Irish company SolarPrint to add photovoltaic systems to the roofs of its future cars. Despite advances in solar energy collection and conversion, a photovoltaic roof still can't generate nearly enough electricity to power an entire vehicle (at least not anything bigger than the ultra-light and aerodynamic solar race specials). Instead, the new flexible solar panels will be used to power vehicle accessories like ventilation, audio, navigation and other electrically driven systems.
Such a strategy has the advantage of reducing loads on the vehicle's alternator and cutting parasitic losses. SolarPrint claims its photovoltaic technology can be printed to a variety of surfaces, including glass and metal, and can absorb diffuse or low light better than traditional silicon photovoltaics. It can also absorb light better at angles, allowing it to generate up to 20 percent more power overall. Fiat has not announced when it would start incorporating the solar roofs. Want more? Check out the SolarPrint video after the jump.