Today, Toyota announced that they will start testing new high-efficiency solar cells to be used on electric cars. It could potentially boost the range by 35 miles (56 km) of range per day. For over many years, the company has been trying to installed onboard solar panels in its electric car strategy. The new solar cells roof are for the Prius model, initially, it was only a 50-watt panel used to help run the AC fans and things like that.
This is not the first time Toyota has made solar panel available for its cars. Back in 2010, they sold solar panels which could be used to recharge the car’s auxiliary battery. The main difference between these recently made panels is that they are more efficient. The panels are capable of producing almost five times as much power as the previous model and can give over seven times the amount of range.
In 2016, the Japanese automaker brought back a $2,000 solar roof option for its new Prius plug-in hybrid, and this version of the system was a little more powerful at 180 watts. It could be used to charge the battery pack used to power the car on electric-only, but it would only add a few miles. Now recently Toyota has collaborated with NEDO and Sharp to start public road trials, it will aim to assess the effectiveness of improvements in cruising range and fuel efficiency of electrified vehicles equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries.
Moreover, the vehicle would be equipped with extremely efficient solar cells that Toyota claims can convert solar power at a 34% rate. The roof and the back are covered with cells, the automaker claims that the solar system can generate 860 watts of power and add about 56.3 km (35 miles) of range per day. Toyota is not thinking about the timeline to commercialization yet, it plans to test the vehicle in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Tokyo, and other areas later this month. And share its findings with NEDO and Sharp in order to help bring this technology to market.
The company has also justified their plans for making hybrids by saying that if it uses its battery production capacity to produce a larger amount of hybrids. Then it will reduce carbon emissions more than if it produced a smaller amount of pure electric vehicles. Last month, the company announced its partnership with Subaru, point out the fact that an all-electric Toyota could arrive.
On the whole, by considering the fact you will only get minor power output by putting solar panels on the roof of the car. Not mentioning the effort it takes by doing so. There are few companies currently experimenting with it. The startup Lightyear plans to start delivering its “solar car” to customers in 2021, and Hyundai also announced plans to start installing solar roofs on select cars last year.