Toyota is testing out new solar battery panels on its electric vehicle, which could reduce the need to plug in for recharging
Spotted: Toyota, together with Japanese national research organisation NEDO and the Sharp Corporation, has recently begun road trials of a car equipped with solar batteries. The solar-powered Prius PHV, which only sells in Japan, has been fitted with newly designed solar battery panels on the roof, hood, and rear hatch door.
The panels are more efficient than existing commercial versions. They can convert solar energy at 34 percent efficiency, up from the 22.5 percent efficiency existing vehicles are capable of. Unlike in earlier versions, the new panels can charge the car’s driving battery while the vehicle is in use, extending the driving range between charges by up to 44.5 km (27.7 miles).
The solar battery cell consists of a thin film, measuring just 0.03 mm (0.001 inches). The film can be fitted to the curves of parts with limited space. The demonstration car used in the pilot has a rated power generation output of around 860W.
Toyota plans to conduct trials of the vehicle to evaluate any improvements in the reduction of carbon emissions and in convenience, including the number of times the vehicle requires charging.