Toyota Adds Solar Power To Hybrid

from the what's-wrong-with-wind-power? dept

Toyota, already considered a leader in producing hybrid gas-electric vehicles is apparently preparing to make that hybrid a bit more hybrid: it's going to add solar panels to some models, using the solar energy to power air conditioning. It's not much, but it's a start. I've actually been fascinated with solar vehicles since the fifth grade (yikes) when I convinced some engineers at GM to send me some cheap solar panels to build a tiny solar-powered car (Chrysler ignored my letter, Ford sent a form letter in response). While GM had invested in some prototypes and took part in various solar powered car contests, the technology has never been good enough to do very much at a practical level. Now, how long will it be until Toyota figures out a way to use wind power as well?

Filed Under: hybrid cars, prius, solar power
Companies: toyota

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  1. identicon
    Joe J., 7 Jul 2008 @ 7:38pm

    Enery Calculation provide Reality Check

    Solar panels cannot be the solution because the sun simply does not provide enough energy per sq meter to power the creature comforts we all love in modern cars.

    Allow me to estimate:

    1000W/sq meter * 10m^2 surface * 8 hours * 3600 sec/hour = 180MJoules.

    These are all very very very favorable calculations estimating the energy POSSIBLE via solar panels on a Prius. Solar cells efficiency 100% efficient with the car parked for 8 hours... ...on a cloudless day... the equator.... noon (which lasts for 8 hours!)... ...with 10 square meters of solar panels.

    And you get a whopping 180MJoules - possible.

    For comparison purposes 1 gallon of gasoline has 130 MJoules.

    Toyota is simply making a marketing statement. I am okay with that, but let's not wet our pants about the idea.

    Joe J.

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