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
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2008 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: define practical

    The point with Helios is how efficient of a system can be designed using solar energy. With the major technological advancements currently being made, like building solar "antennas" specifically tuned to the spectrum of light much like a radio wave, coupled with super conducting metals with zero electrical resistance, the efficiency rate at which solar energy can be collected will skyrocket. Doing this with nano-technology creates an even higher efficiency potential. The current 20% rates compared to the theoretic 85% rates would be a major chance in the way we think about electric power. Batteries are taking major strides as well, although it’s not reflected in the commercial products most are familiar with.

    Drawing a direct current from solar cells isn’t the only way to harness the power of solar energy. Using mirrors to create a highly focused beam of light to instantly convert water into steam is another practical application. Considering the vast majority of generators employ the use of a turbine to generate all of their power, and are powered by steam, creating a structure with an extremely large mirror that could convert hundreds of gallons of water into steam instantaneously would generate tremendous amounts of power. Combine those turbines with a wind farm, and build a platform and send it out to sea, and you can extract mass quantities of hydrogen as well. Point being, once technology catches up to the point where we can design systems such as these, the need for any combustible fuel becomes useless.

    Of course, if humans could just all get along nuclear power would be the definitive way to go.

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