Colum Murphy:

In February, when Hanergy Chairman Li Hejun outlined his vision for a form of solar technology known as thin film, developing a solar-powered car took a front seat.

Mr. Li’s plans–announced in a speech at an event to launch its product innovation competition in Beijing–were high on ambition but low on specifics. Hanergy, he said, would work with a handful of design companies to develop a fully solar-powered car before the end of the year.

It was a significant upping of the stakes from Hanergy’s previous dabbling in the car industry, which includes collaborating with British luxury brand Aston Martin on solar-power applications for racing cars. It’s also worked on a small number of Tesla superchargers in China and installed solar panels at the Chinese car plants of brands such as Volkswagen and Honda.