First prototype to be operatable at the end of this month.
Solar energy is considered to be one of the cleanest and also renewable electricity sources. More and more people are therefore deciding to set up solar power stations on the roofs of their homes, because they can supply electricity to their own household, as well as cars. In so far as the electric car is, of course, the biggest energy user in the house, which would make it quite practical to put solar cells on them as well, thereby increasing their autonomy.
Well, special racing cars with a built-in solar cells, has been around for years now, On the other hand, this idea has also been used at Fisker, which used solar cells on the roof of the model Karma. However, Toyota, which has also been using built-in solar panels in Prius might bring the idea to another level. The Japanese brand has linked itself to the research and Development Organisation NEDO and battery producer Sharp, and together they are developing the concept of a plug-in hybrid with more powerful solar cells.
Project was based on a hybrid Prius and installed Sharp solar cells with 34% efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity: by comparison, the average solar panels commonly used have only between 15% and 18% efficiency. Together, both solar cells, inter alia, installed on the engine bonnet, roof, back door and some other surfaces, produce 860 watts of energy, 4,8 times more than a standard Prius. The peculiarity of the system lies also in the fact that you can charge the battery assembly even when driving, and not just in the parking lot, which will further increase the electric range of the vehicle.
The above prototype is almost ready-to-use; Toyota will begin first tests at the end of this month. Test drives will be conducted within the city of Toyota, Tokyo and other Japanese cities. At the same time, Toyota will pay the utmost attention to monitoring the effectiveness of the charging system itself in order to develop new generations of such systems in serial vehicles.