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Quantum to produce solar roof for Fisker Karma

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Automotive energy firm Quantum says it will begin producing solar roofs with "extreme curvature" for the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma.

Lake Forest, Calif.-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies announced on Wednesday that it received $9.4 million for the first production series of solar roofs for the Fisker Karma.

The company says the roof will be "the largest continuous and most highly curved solar roof in a passenger car." It will use technology developed in partnership with Germany's Asola to preserve the lifespan of the solar cells in such extreme curvature.

The benefits, according to Fisker:

  • Converts radiated power from the sun into stored electric energy, "effectively increasing the range."
  • The solar roof charges the lithium-ion battery to regulate the interior climate control systems.
  • Custom honeycomb design and color treatment "complement every Karma paint option." (An awfully expensive piece of trim, no?)
  • Provides up to 200 miles of annual emission-free voltaic driving.

The plug-in hybrid-electric Karma is the product of Irvina, Calif.-based Fisker Automotive, which has staked its name on next-generation, "green" cars. The company -- which Quantum co-founded --  closed a U.S. Department of Energy loan for $528.7 million in April of this year to develop two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, including the Karma, as well as a four door sports sedan and a line of "family-oriented" models.

The companies will begin volume production of the solar roof in early 2011.

More on the partnership, in a video:

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure