Toyota Is Testing A New Solar
The panels could spell an end to what potential customers fear most: running out of juice.
Toyota will soon take to the streets to begin testing new Prius models with solar panels. Working with the Sharp Corporation and Japanese government agency NEDO, the automaker will study the cruising range and fuel efficiency of electrified vehicles equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries.
The new tests have been in the works for three years. NEDO, a national research and development organization, set up the Vehicle Strategy Committee, which focuses on developing solar. The new Prius models will have solar panels built by Sharp, thin films that are around 0.001 inches thick. With solar panels that thin, Toyota has the flexibility to add them to not only the car’s roof, but also the hood and rear hatch door.
Beyond their placement on the car, the solar panels look to be remarkably efficient. In a press release, Toyota says Sharp’s solar panels have reached “a conversion efficiency of 34 percent-plus” and are capable of delivering 860 watts of power.
While they wouldn’t be providing all the car’s energy, the solar panels could offer a balm for one of the biggest worries in the public’s eye about electric vehicles: range anxiety. There’s a persistent worry among potential EV buyers that their car could run out of energy in the middle of a drive.
What Kind Of Solar Panels Will The New Prius Use
The Prius solar energy comes on the heels of a common problem plaguing many electric drivers range anxiety. Its solar panels are positioned on top of the model, using films that are only around 0.001 inches thick, giving maximum flexibility to be fastened to the hood, roof and rear hatch.
When tested, these panels have shown incredible efficiency, with conversion ratings of 34 percent and a maximum power output of 860 watts. Though solar power alone isnt enough to power a full vehicle, the energy created is more than enough to help with cruising speed and increased fuel efficiency.
Havent Cars Already Had Solar Roof Options Before
Solar panels built into the roof of a hybrid car is nothing new car manufacturers have been experimenting with them for years. The new Panasonic module for the Prius Prime, however, is a lot more powerful than what we have seen available so far.
The Nissan Leaf
The all-electric Leaf from Nissan doesnt offer a full solar roof like the Prius, but it does have a solar panel option that sits on top of the cars rear spoiler. You cant just get the solar spoiler by itself, however, as it comes wrapped up inside the highest trim level, the SL, which will run you up to $6,110 more than other editions of the Leaf.
With this package, though, drivers also get to have fog lights, leather seats, and seat heaters in the back seats, bringing the cars total purchase price to a whopping $36,790.
The Nissan Leafs solar spoiler is a paltry 5-watt module, only able to direct power to the cars in-vehicle accessories not the main drive battery. Its a tiny panel, after all, only fitted on to the relatively small spoiler.
For more than $6,000 it makes little sense to get the highest trim level if you just want the solar spoiler. If you want all the other goodies that come with it, then it may be worth it to you. Keep in mind that for about the same price, you could get a 2,000-watt solar installation on the roof of your home and 400 times the power.
The Previous Prius Model
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With 45 Km In Electric Mode And Label Zero
Everything is to enjoy many more kilometers using only electricity:
45 have been homologated according to the WLTP cycle, being able to move in that mode at speeds of up to 145 km / h.
This allows the approved average consumption to be between 1.3 and 1.5 liters, with CO2 emissions of between 28 and 35 grams per kilometer.
In addition, it means having the ZERO emissions label from the DGT, with all the advantages that this entails.
Until now, that distinction has only had the fuel cell Mirai.
The drive unit is made up of a 1.8-liter gasoline engine and two electric ones.
They give a maximum of 122 horses, although one of the novelties is that the two electric blocks can be added to move the car,
giving in this case 20 HP more than before and making the car accelerate more forcefully.
This happens when we have
the EV driving mode selected.
If we have a full battery, it is recommended for highways and highways.
‘EV City’ mode,
for low emission zones and lower speeds, only the main electric motor is needed.
Finally, if it is about obtaining maximum electrical efficiency when traveling and once the electric battery is discharged, there
is the ‘HV’ .
To refill the battery, the most powerful action is to plug it into the network.
Given that the maximum load power it supports is 3.3 kW,
the minimum time will be in about two hours on poles that give that or more.
On a conventional household outlet, it would be about four hours.
And as a great novelty,
Toyota Covers Prius Prime With Solar Panels To Test Mileage
While Toyota has been skeptical of electric cars, the carmaker is expressing optimism about technology that can supplement plugging in: solar.
Along with its battery partners NIDO and Sharp, Toyota is experimenting with a new Prius Prime in Japan , equipped with 860 watts of solar panels on the roof, hood, and rear hatch.
The car uses photovoltaic solar cells from Sharp that Toyota says are 34 percent efficient “plus.” Altogether, the company says that on an ideal sunny day, the solar panels could give the Prius PHV up to 27.6 miles of electric power per day.
That’s a big jump from the current solar roof that Toyota offers on the Prius PHV in Japan, which delivers 180 watts of power from panels that are 23 percent efficient and maxes out at about 3.8 miles a day. It can only charge the batteries while the car is parked, while the test array will charge even while the car is driving.
The Prius PHV still uses its 9-kilowatt-hour battery which can be charged from the wall to deliver another roughly 25 miles of electric driving a day.
Sono Sion solar assisted electric car
The Toyota project is sponsored by the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, and Toyota plans to begin testing it on roads in Japan this month to gather data on efficiency and driving range. There are currently no production plans for the car.
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Benefits Of The Prius Solar Roof
Each year vehicles are updated to adapt to the needs of drivers. The changes might be small, like little details in design, or they can be big changes, like adding completely new features. It is always interesting to explore these new features to see what they have to add to a vehicles performance and accessibility. Toyota is a brand that is constantly updating its vehicles to make them better with each new model. They are always adding features, such as the available solar roof on the new 2015 Prius. Today were going to take a look at the benefits of the Prius solar roof.
The 2015 Prius has an optional solar roof that adds to the style and functionality of the vehicle. The first major benefit is that it keeps the vehicle cool when parked in the sun. Usually when you come back to your parked car, it is hot and uncomfortable from sitting in the sun for so long, but this is not the case when you have a solar roof. This feature is created with solar panels that can power a fan to circulate ambient air through the cabin when the Prius is parking in direct sunlight. This helps keep the cabin cool and more comfortable when you return to your vehicle.
If you are interested in learning more about the 2015 Toyota Prius, schedule a test drive at Serra Toyota in Birmingham. We will be able to show you how all of these exciting new features work. No matter where you are headed, Toyota will get you there.
Solar Panels On Just About Everything
TOKYO Inspired by new ultra-thin solar panels developed for satellites, a project led by Toyota is experimenting with a sun-powered Prius that it hopes will one day require no plugging in.
In the Japanese government-funded demonstration project, Toyota engineers fitted solar panels designed by Sharp Corp to the hood, roof, rear window and spoiler to see how much juice the sun can generate.
The electricity from the panels goes directly to the drive battery, so the Prius can charge while moving or when parked.
On a good day, the charge can be sufficient for up to 35 miles of travel, more than the 29 miles driven a day by the average American, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
But the performance drops off quickly if it is cloudy or even when it’s too hot out. If used in real-world driving in those conditions, the Prius would have to be plugged in to recharge.
Toyota has experimented with solar panels on the Prius for years, but these new solar cells are super-slim just 0.03 millimeters making them malleable enough to form-fit to the body of a car. The engineers needed to create a buffer between the car and the cells to protect them, so the actual solar panel modules are closer to a centimeter thick.
The trunk of the car is filled with batteries for the solar panels, adding extra weight of around 180 pounds.
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Could Solar Be The Next Frontier For Electric Cars Toyota Begins Testing Solar
A Toyota Prius that can run using the power of the sun has been developed in conjunction with technology company Sharp, and it’s due to begin testing on Japanese roads this year.
The 2019 Toyota Prius is already available adorned with solar panels to help charge its battery pack, and this concept is not new – the brand has developed a solar-equipped Prius PHV in the past. But significant developments in solar panel efficiency in recent times have allowed this new solar-powered version to significantly increase its electric-only range.
While the currently available in Japan Prius PHV has a solar power efficiency of 22.5 per cent, Toyota says the new demo car has an efficiency of 34 per cent or more, allowing it to generate almost five times the amount of electricity using the sun alone.
The solar-panel adorned Prius can boost its electric driving range by using the panels to power auxiliary systems while moving.
Whats more is that Toyota has improved the solar panel charging technology so that it works both when the car is running, and when it is parked .
The new demo car can store up to 44.5km of electric-only cruising range per day while it is parked and can boost that range to 56.3km when being driven, as the solar cells power all of the vehicles auxiliary systems on-the-go.
While Toyota hopes to create a solar panel market with the tech, it is also invested in hydrogen drive technologies.
Up To 1000 Kilometers A Year ‘for The Face’
It’s a formula that was used in the third-generation Prius in 2009 and is now offered as an option.
It is the only model for sale in Spain with this element, which allows the generation of electricity both with the car stopped and running.
In the first case, the energy that is created goes to a specific battery and from here to the large one that feeds the electric motors
or directly to this if the first one is already full.
But if the Prius is in motion, the electricity goes from the ‘solar’ battery to the auxiliary one that powers electronic elements such as the instrument panel or the electric windows.
In this way, that energy is not consumed from the main one, reducing autonomy.
According to Toyota, solar panels can provide up to a maximum of 1,000 kilometers of autonomy per year.
To this innovation must be added
a heat pump air conditioning, up to 2.5 times more efficient than an electrical system
and that does not require the thermal engine to be connected -above -10ÂºC-, or the battery heating system electric, which guarantees that its autonomy and performance
are not affected by low temperatures, even down to -20ÂºC.
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Toyota Testing Hybrid Prius Fitted With Solar Cells
Toyota has announced plans to test concept vehicles based on the Prius plug-in hybrid with integrated solar panels together with the research and development organization NEDO and the battery manufacturer Sharp starting at the end of this month.
The solar cell modules will be installed on the roof, hood and tailgate of the Prius PHEV. The integrated solar panels are designed to improve the range and fuel efficiency of the compact model. The carmaker did not specify which exact values Toyota was hoping for here.
The test will take place in Japan, for example in Toyota City, Tokyo, but also in other regions. The two project partners hope to simulate different conditions. According to Toyota, the data collected includes the amount of electricity generated by the solar battery module and the amount of energy used to charge the traction battery. The information should help in the development of a solar charging system for vehicles.
The data will also be shared with the other two cooperation partners NEDO and with Sharp, the who is supplying the solar cells. According to the Toyota announcement, the cells have a conversion efficiency of over 34 percent. Over the entire area, the solar power system is to have a rated an output of 860 watts. Compared to the Prius plug-in hybrid currently on offer, which can optionally be ordered with a small solar power system, the output is 4.8 times greater.
But Will The Prius Solar Roof Be Worth The Cost
The solar roof option on the new Prius Prime may not seem like it cranks out much power, but 3.7 extra miles a day for an average commuter will certainly add up over time. How does that translate into dollars and cents?
The 180-watt module will generate differing levels of energy depending on where your car is parked or where youre driving. In sunny Las Vegas, Nevada, for instance, it would churn out roughly 270 kilowatt-hours per year according to the National Renewable Energy Labs PV Watts solar calculator.
Cars, on average, run 200,000 to 300,000 miles in their lifetime, with the average driver racking up 13,500 miles per year so we can estimate that an average vehicle has an 18-year lifespan.
Now lets do the math using the national average price of $0.13 per kWh, and account for the average rate increase for utilities of 2.6% annually. To buy 270 kWh per year for an 18-year stretch using these standards, it would cost around $750 in total.
So there it is the new 180-watt solar system on the Prius Prime would need to be priced under $750 to be cost-effective to auto buyers at least in the southwest.
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Toyota Prius Gets Slathered In Solar Panels In The Name Of Efficiency
Clean energy doesn’t get cleaner than coming directly from a renewable source.
Looks goofy, but it’s efficient.
While many have pointed to electric cars as one way to curb emissions, EVs still require energy to charge the batteries. If said energy comes from fossil fuels, it start to erode the vehicle’s total efficiency picture.
That’s why Toyota is working on what could be one solution in the future: a car covered in solar panels. Tests for this prototype Toyota Prius began back in July. The automaker is working with NEDO and Sharp to conduct the demos, with the latter contributing the solar panels for the hood, roof, rear window and spoiler.
Unlike the production Prius, which has a solar charging system in some markets, the prototype car seen here can take the sun’s energy from the solar panels and directly charge the battery while parked or while driving. Initial tests found the system was able to add 35 additional miles to the Prius’ range. While parked, the solar panels added about 27 miles of extra range.
The Sharp solar panels also have a far more efficient conversion rate of 34% compared with 22.5% in Toyota’s current production system. The more the panels can convert to usable energy, the better.
Solar panels combined with ultrafast changing networks could finally help drivers consider a switch to an electric car. But we’ve still got years to go before that point, more than likely.
Solar Battery Could Juice The Hybrid Cars Range
A Prius Prime covered with solar panels.
-1.63% Fusion, a car likely to be retired by its manufacturer in the next few years.
This is happening even as the hybrid market is growing. According to LMC Automotive, by 2025, hybrids will represent 15% of the U.S. market, up from 2.7% last year.
That is also a part of the problem for Toyota: hybrid cars are now commonplace, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. However, Sam De La Garza, the companys senior manager of small-car marketing, has said that despite the models diminishing sales, Toyota isnt giving up on the Prius. One way to get back into the race would be to improve the cars average battery range, which is the goal of the companys latest trial.
Toyota, together with Sharp Corp. and NEDO , plans to begin testing improvements in cruising range and fuel efficiency of electrified vehicles equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries later this month.
It will use Sharps specially modified solar cells, which, according to the manufacturer, offer 34%-plus conversion efficiency. Solar battery panels will be installed on the roof, hood, rear hatch door and rear hatch door garnish of Toyotas demo vehicle, Prius Prime, providing 840W of power output. This will be 4.7 times as much as the regular solar battery panel output of the older Prius Prime, known as Prius PHV, that is sold only in Japan.
Here are some more photos that Toyota has released:
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