Toyota is all set to carry out the testing of its new Prius models that come loaded with solar panels. The car manufacturer is working with the Sharp Corporation and Japanese government agency NEDO and will be studying the cruise range and fuel efficiency of its famous Prius model that has been equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries.
Toyota has been working on these tests for about three years. NEDO is a national research and development organization that has set up the Vehicle Strategy Committee focused on developing solar. The all-new Prius models will feature solar panels that have been built by Sharp. These solar panels are comprised of thin films that are about 0.001 inches thick. Because of how thin these solar panels are Toyota can not only add them to the roof but also to the hood and the rear hatch door of the car.
The solar panels are not just thin; they are extremely efficient. In a press release by Toyota, the company said that the Sharp’s solar panels have reached ‘a conversion efficiency of 34 percent-plus’ while being capable of providing 860 watts of power. The solar panels will not be responsible for providing all of the car’s energy, but they can help with the one thing that the public is worried about when it comes to electric vehicles; range. What worries the masses most is about getting trapped while attempting to evade a natural disaster without a charge.
Toyota said in a press statement, ‘Previously, the Prius PHV charged the driving battery only while the vehicle was parked. However, with improvements in power generation output, the demo car employs a system that charges while the vehicle is being driven.’ Toyota is hopeful that the solar panels will help it to improve cruising mode and fuel efficiency.
We will have to wait and see how the tests of Prius go before we can really comment on the functionality of these solar panels. Nonetheless, the idea sure is amazing and unique.