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Next-generation Toyota Prius has solar roof for Europe, Japan

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by RobStark, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    TOKYO -- The next-generation Prius plug-in hybrid gets a little greener with a the rooftop solar panel for recharging the batteries.

    Sun power only amplifies the eco-car cred of one of the greenest vehicles. The cells charge the car even when it is parked and can boost fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent by allowing longer electric-only driving times.

    The problem: The Japan market solar panels are laid on reinforced glass sheeting that doesn’t pass America’s more stringent rollover crash tests.

    Next-generation Toyota Prius has solar roof for Europe, Japan

    Elon and the engineers here at TMC keep telling us car rooftop solar makes no sense that solar belongs on the roofs of building but I think this will be a boon for Toyota.

    Even if the "up to 10%" is almost never realized in the real world.

    Like aerodynamic aids that don't really aid aerodynamics below felony speeds people dig them.
     
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  2. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    Very interesting. I think it's time for a solar panel option on the Model X and S. For those who aren't interested in having a solar panel on their vehicles, they simply don't have to get the option.
     
  3. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    Knowing that most people do not understand physics (or chemistry or math or...) the vast majority of people think that hydrogen power must be wonderful because Toyota has embraced it.

    And when intelligent people like engineers say that car roof top solar is goofy, worthless, pointless, inefficient, who's going to listen? These high school graduates will pay extra for car roof solar and think they can run for free, just like they run for free on hydrogen, even though it costs more than gasoline does and still pollutes.

    I know too many people who will get excited about hydrogen and a few square feet of solar on a car. It will be a boon to Toyota, that's right.
     
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  4. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    Didn't Fisker try the rooftop solar panel thing too? How did those work out?

    (serious question, not a comment on how Fisker the car maker did)
     
  5. Alketi

    Alketi Member

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    #5 Alketi, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
    Wow. No plans for a battery EV, their pursuit of fuel cells, now putting solar panels on a hybrid. If I owned any Toyota stock, I'd be selling it tomorrow.
     
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  6. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    If it wasn't for the solar panel Fisker would be a $40B company.

    That was the main problem.
     
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  7. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Marketing gimmick and nothing else (from an engineering POV)

    IT'S NEAT! (from everyone else's POV)
     
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  8. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Wow, elitist attacks on Prius owners?

    Because consumers that buy brand new Prius have subpar educations vs the average new car buyer? Really?
     
  9. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    You have a point here.

    Had an interesting discussion the other day with another Tesla owner about Hydrogen power. He essentially reiterated Toyota's H2 plans, talking about how H2 FCEV will be the future of long distance travel. We spent a lengthy discussion about it, with me pointing out all the disadvantages of H2 and benefits and simplicity of BEV (which he owns too!).

    Found it interesting how Toyota marketing has a lot of the world around their "green" pinky, even among those who should know (and he's way beyond a high school grad).
     
  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    We don't know how much those panels add to the cost of the vehicle, but I'm not convinced it is a wise use of PV. The angle of the panels will never be optimal, and the panel surface area is quite small. Improving "efficiency by up to 10%" may mean just a few percent in real life.

    I need to know how much extra cost the buyer pays for those panels before I can determine if they make sense.
     
  11. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Same argument as: "I think it's time for a range extender gasoline engine in the Model X and S. For those who aren't interested, they simply don't have to get the option.".

    When something is a bad idea, it's a bad idea, and it spoils the car even if you don't order that option.
     
  12. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    It is nothing like that. Because the entire platform needs to be re-engineered for an ICE and associated hardware. Tesla would need to become an ICE manufacturer,which it knows nothing about, to get generators at competitive prices. Etc.

    A solar panel is about buying a simple panel from a supplier. It would be no heavier nor more complicated to install that a panoramic roof. A logical engineer should also be against a pano roof that adds 200 lbs, engineer complexity, durability issues, lowers MPGe and is a poor thermal insulator. But it is a go because Elon thinks its cool.

    It is more like vegans trying to prevent others from buying leather seating surfaces.
     
  13. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Yep, just like the solar panel on my Nissan Leaf, which trickle charges the 12volt battery, and is useless, but looks neat.
     
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  14. Kim.T

    Kim.T Member

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    Fisker Karma's Solar Panel :
    The Karma includes as standard a solar paneled roof manufactured by Asola Advanced and Automotive Solar Systems GmbH, a Quantum Technologies affiliate, to aid the cabin climate control system. The solar roof is capable of generating a half kilowatt-hour a day and was estimated to provide up to 4 to 5 miles (6.4–8.0 km) of additional range a week assuming continuously sunny days; however, the solar panels as delivered only recharge the 12-volt lead-acid accessory battery.

    Fisker Karma - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  15. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    At least the pano roof is pretty and provide more headroom. That is at least some function that is worth paying for.

    But... ok, let's say you take the most expensive price we've ever heard for a Model S battery - from 3 years ago, which is $40'000 for a 85. So that is about $500 per kWh. We know Tesla can do much cheaper now, but let's go with $500 gives you 1 kWh of battery.

    Now, compare that to the $5000 panel on the Fisker.

    For 10% of that price, you can add 1 kWh to your car, and you'll add more range and function that a solar panel can add over a perfect 8 hypothetical hour period with perfect angling to the sun. (Which you would need to put your car on some sort of directional platform to do). But even then, the 1 kWh battery will give you more usable range.

    Ahh! You say, but I already have the 1 kWh, so why not add the panel now? Ok, but then just add 1 more kWh. Then another one, and then another one... and then finally Toyota has to admit that a BEV can actually make sense. Which they don't want to do - so they add a solar panel instead.
     
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  16. SteveLa

    SteveLa Member

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    Toyota has tried in 2010 to put a solar panel on the Prius, but only use solar panel to power...a fan!
     
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  17. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Surprised Toyota didn't put a wind turbine in front of the fan to charge the battery from it.

    I say if you're gonna be stupid, you may as well do it in style!
     
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  18. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Lots of things don't make sense when you look at the financials, or the real-world range, or ... you pick. But as part of the overall package (which includes style and image), I like the idea. A good part of a car's value (or lack thereof) is in exactly that space - style and image - and even items slightly less than sanely green can add to that value.

    On a practical note, such a system could offset the vampire drain, run that ventilation fan to keep the interior from frying, and offer some functional shade while still letting in some gently filtered light. Arguably a pretty good idea if your car will be sitting for a week outdoors at the airport.
     
  19. BrokerDon

    BrokerDon Member

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    We have a 2012 Prius Four with the $3,820 Solar Package that includes several a solar panel in the roof between the sunroof and the hatchback, sunroof, upgraded navigation system, and satellite radio. Yes that's a LOT of $$$ for this option package but we bought ours used with only 2,600 miles on it for $6,000 less than new. The solar panel ONLY provides power to run a thermostatically controlled fan pushing fresh air into the cabin... keeping the interior MUCH cooler on hot days. Combined with a reflective snow shade on the outside of the windshield it really keeps the cabin air temp close to the outside ambient air temp.

    I agree a small solar panel would be nice to provide the same cooling while parked feature on our P85D... and also offset the parasitic drain too. However the solar panel would eliminate the rear seat panoramic roof which we would be OK with.
     
  20. mobe

    mobe Member

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    Where can I get one of those reflective snow shades? Sounds cool!
     

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