From Design News (https://www.designnews.com/content/could-solar-powered-cars-become-practical/43791707861218): Could Solar-Powered Cars Become Practical? Toyota is working with solar-cell maker Sharp to explore solar-powered EVs using new, experimental, high-efficiency solar panels on a modified Prius. By: Kevin Clemens Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo – Novi, MI Battery/Energy Storage, Automotive, Alternative Energy July 25, 2019 Toyota has placed enough high-efficiency solar cells on a Prius to gain up to 27 miles of driving range during a sunny day. (Image source: Toyota) The idea of a solar-powered car is an appealing one. The first official solar car race was the Tour de Sol in Switzerland in 1985, and since that time similar races have taken place in the US, Australia, and Europe. The vehicles for such competitions are usually built by universities, often in partnership with car makers and aerospace firms, and are usually highly aerodynamic, single-seat machines having little to do with practical transportation. Now, Toyota has announced that it is partnering with Sharp and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in Japan to test a plug-in Prius hybrid whose power system has been augmented by highly-efficient solar cells. According to a Toyota news release, “The trials aim to assess the effectiveness of improvements in cruising range and fuel efficiency of electrified vehicles equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries.” Roof Tops Sponsored Content Brought to you by Design News 5,000 Potential Leads Meet automation technology buyers at the Midwest's largest advanced manufacturing event and fill your sales pipeline with quality leads. Book your booth space now for ATX Minneapolis, OCT 23-24, 2019, Minneapolis Convention Center. Anyone who is familiar with solar cells will be immediately doubtful about their on-board use to power a vehicle. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are great in stationary applications where, on a rooftop or in a field they can cover a large area and generate electricity, even when the sun is partially hidden behind clouds. In fact, in the early days of electric vehicle (EV) acceptance, it wasn’t uncommon for EV owners to use a rooftop solar array to help charge their vehicles. But finding enough surface area on a vehicle to mount enough solar panels to make a difference is a problem. Solar panels have been used on some EVs—the original Nissan Leaf for example had an option of a small solar panel on its rear spoiler whose purpose was to maintain the charge of the car’s 12-volt auxiliary battery. Likewise, Toyota has offered solar panels for the roof of its Prius that generated enough power to run a cooling fan in the cabin.