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
    Gelbstoff, 8 Jul 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: define practical

    -Helios was a prof-of-concept. This is how technology gets tested. Besides, nobody is trying to sell a mas-produced solar car.
    -Most plug-ins will be charging at night when the loads on the grid are lower (because of lower temp). Moreover, the grid has to be improved anyway, so I do not see your point.
    -GM is now producing an all electric car with an on-board gasoline generator. This is really a good old idea. Most ships and locomotives use electric motors with generators providing the power. The concept looks very good on paper and they hope to have it out in a few years. Ford is also working on electric cars, similar concept.
    -At a global average >200 W/m^2 of solar irradiance, solar panels can be practical, particularly if one considers that cars are parked outside most of the time. Just because a technology is not optimal now, does not mean that one has to abandon it. Solar panels are becoming more efficient, and are powering many buildings. Solar-thermal systems are powering desalination plants, and cities. Wind power is already powering Islands and cities.
    -I suspect that all this blah blah comes from global warming deniers. They just need to consider that reducing our oil consumption is a good idea regardless of ones opinion about global warming. See the comments of someone like T. Boone Pickens - an oil billionaire who thinks that we should stop using oil because it is a finite resource.
    -So, my ill-informed friend- please explain to me what is so bad about trying alternative sources of energy?



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