Wouldn’t it be nice to see massive listings of solar-powered cars for sale on Naijauto by the end of the year 2020?
Toyota seems to be the leading company interested in making such dreams come true. Since July this year, the Japanese automaker has already begun running public trial tests of its prototype vehicle that is designed to run mainly on solar power. Yes, you read that right!
Toyota clearly plans to completely revolutionize the entire automotive industry with this innovation. The automaker has entered a partnership with NEDO (New Energy & Industrial Technology Development Organization) in Japan and Sharp Corp, a solar panel making company in order to achieve this nearly “impossible” feat.
This solar-powered prototype car is actually a modified version of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV).
Toyota wishes we are running our cars solely on solar power by 2020
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Toyota aims to have solar panels strapped to this car and find a way to make it run forever on the solar power without ever needing a refuelling or recharging from an external outlet.
Also, the automaker chooses to make use of this Prius PHV as a prototype because the original version already comes with an available option of hooking solar panels to it. However, the provision was only meant for recharging the battery when the car is parked at a spot, of which the equivalent energy this process produces is just around 4miles in range.
This Toyota Prius PHV solar-powered prototype can already go 27 miles range with just solar energy alone
This prototype car has been modified better such that it can recharge its battery using solar power both when running and when parked. And according to Toyota, it has also shown an impressive 34% solar energy conversion efficiency making it capable of running 27 miles on the solar energy with the modification.
Interestingly, all of the Solar panels used on this prototype car are just 0.03mm in thickness and developed by Sharp Corp, meaning they are very flexible. This thin nature made it possible to have the panels fitted all over a large area of the vehicle’s roof and entire surface altogether.
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When speaking with Bloomberg about this prototype car, NEDO’s director of Solar systems division – Mitsuhiro Yamazaki said;
"if the prototype is driven 4 days a week for a maximum of 31 miles, it no longer requires to be plugged into an outlet."
We should all just keep our fingers crossed as we watch the future birth new unbelievable innovations.