A new project by Toyota Motor Corp., Sharp Corp. and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan, or NEDO, is seeking to build a Prius that could essentially run forever. They aim to do this through a solar-powered car.
Koji Makino, a project manager at Toyota, said, ‘The solar car’s advantage is that — while it can’t drive for a long-range — it’s really independent of charging facilities.’ The biggest benefit of a solar-powered car is that you don’t need to plug it in anywhere. Prius plug-in hybrid is a car that is available for a price tag of 3 million yen has solar panels as an option.
The downside? The vehicle is only capable of charging itself once it is parked and the maximum amount of power for driving gets used up within six kilometres. Nonetheless, the team has managed to make some great breakthroughs in terms of the research and development that involves a new solar-powered Prius.
First off, the team has managed to create solar panels that are capable of converting sunlight at an efficiency level of more than 34% as opposed to the 20% of current panels that are available in the market. Moving forward, the team has also managed to develop solar cells that are about 0.03 mm thick and can be easily placed on the hatchback, hood, and roof of the car.
So, what does this mean; it means that the car can have an electrical system that can be used for charging the vehicle even when it is moving. Mitsuhiro Yamazaki, director at the solar energy systems division of NEDO, said that if the Prius only runs for four days a week for a minimum of fifty kilometres per day; it does not need to be plugged in for power.
Colour us impressed for this is a huge stride towards the future where our cars won’t need to be plugged in and will be able to run forever on solar power.