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
    Freedom, 7 Jul 2008 @ 5:08pm

    Solar Paint = Real Solution

    Until they can make Solar Paint or embed solar into the fiberglass using nano techniques, we probably won't get much if any real benefit from Solar Energy integrated with vehicles or houses for that matter.

    From the articles I've read in Technology Review and various sources online, the two major obstacles right now is the conversion percentage which currently is somewhere around 20 to 30 percent although there may be some specialized forms that top out at 40 percent, and the cost. While the increasing oil costs help to justify the solar panel costs more each day, it's still fairly steep on the energy cost versus return line.

    Hopefully the "nano-geeks" will figure out a way to embed solar panels into roof tiles, fiberglass, paint, etc. Assuming the price was right, it could make a huge impact.

    I live in Phoenix, Arizona area and the thought of having my home's roof covered in solar tile and providing enough AC to power the HVAC and house during the day would be more than cool - it be COOL!!!!!


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