Renewable energies make sense, in my opinion, new buildings should always come with some sort of solar energy system to supplement our energy needs.
However, the Solar Roof on the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is not something I would recommend. So, I am going to explain my issues with this implementation and why you should avoid getting it.
It’s Not That Efficient
If your vehicle is sitting out in 6 hours of sunlight you can expect an additional 2 miles from the panels. For a vehicle rolling in at 54MPG, this is really bad. In all honesty, I would prefer a regular sunroof so you can open it up or just have the extra light.
You can expect 700 miles for the entire year gained from this feature if you get 6 hours of sunlight on these panels everyday. For reference, this would translate at the estimated 54MPG to around 13 Gallons of gasoline saved or (using Nashville’s average gas price of $2.04 per gallon) saving you $26.52 a year. Now, in the more expensive markets, these savings would increase but over a 10 year period assuming gas prices were the same you don’t even save $300. This is the epitome of a gimmick and an expensive one at that.
We won’t know the cost it would take to repair this roof if something goes wrong or the additional cost that goes into adding this feature to the vehicle. The good news is it’s only on the Limited trim which is the highest trim.
I don’t see this feature making any sense from an owner’s perspective due to its very low mileage output. It also would only make sense in very specific markets where sunlight is abundant in Arizona, California, etc, etc.
Are Solar Roofs A Bad Idea?
No, I think there is a lot of potential on vehicles to generate power using solar roofs such as on the Tesla Cybertruck. But in a hybrid model, it seems incredibly gimmicky since the main means of power generation is coming from the gasoline engine. It’s not like its an electric-only vehicle where an extra 5 miles a day can go a long way this seems like an incredible niche and gimmicky feature.
My suggestion is don’t get the limited trim solely for the roof it’s an unnecessary cost with very minimal cost savings over 10 years and likely will cost a good chunk of change if it ever needs to be repaired.
But if you wanted the limited trim anyways don’t let this stop you. I don’t think there will be any maintenance costs associated with the roof and if an issue does arise that’s why Hyundai has the best warranty in the industry.
Let me know your thought below!