New Toyota Prius fitted with solar panels is reported to be 10 per cent more fuel efficient than the standard plug-in hybrid
Toyota will be introducing a solar panel on the roof top of the new generation Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle in a bid to provide more fuel economy. The biggest advantage with the roof-mounted solar is that even when the Prius is parked the cells will charge and add more miles to the charge. It is said to improve fuel efficiency by 10 per cent over the current model which caters extended EV range.
In addition, the solar panels cab be utilised to power head and tail lights, Air Conditioning and power windows besides plenty of other accessories. If you live in the United States, you will be disappointed as the initial phase of the solar panel-equipped Prius will go on sale in the car maker’s home country of Japan and selected parts of Europe.
The US will eventually get the Prius fitted with solar panel as confirmed by Toyota’s chief engineer Koki Toyoshima. However, the significant challenge faced in this setup is the panels themselves as they are placed atop the reinforced glass sheet that won’t get past a main area of crash testing regulations.
The rollover crash tests will make the Toyota Prius feeble and thus delaying the entrance into US. Toyota is still pondering on mastering the photovoltaic cells’ lamination in a resin which won’t disrupt in case of rolling over or a horrific crash. The reports emerged on the internet suggested that the world’s leading automaker has been spending hours to find a solution for this problem in the US.
If a right solution is met, the company will be launching the solar panel equipped Prius through the current generation car’s lifecycle during this fall. It will be dubbed as Prius Prime to differentiate it from the standard hybrid model or Prius PHV in Japan.
However, Toyota is yet to herald whether the solar panels will be offered as standard feature or as optional equipment. In an exclusive piece, we revealed that the Prius Prime will be launched in India in the last month of this year. Details about the solar panel offering for our market are scarce.