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Toyota Solar Powered Concept

Discussion in 'Similar Vehicles' started by Made in USA, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Made in USA

    Made in USA Elio Addict

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    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
    [​IMG]
    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
    [​IMG]
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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  2. Made in USA

    Made in USA Elio Addict

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    By the time Elio gets to an electric version, perhaps the solar cell and battery situation will be good enough that somebody makes a vehicle with those features. A $10,000 solar powered three wheeler sounds good. Maybe someday.
     
  3. Ty

    Ty Elio Addict

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    What is really cool is they've already put the newer panels on a car (Lightyear One) that will charge up to 60 miles in one day parked outside (which I do at work). The NEW NEW solar tech can take Lightyear's solar efficiency from 20% to 80%... Now, it doesn't translate to exactly 4 times the power absorption but it's close. So, that Lightyear should be able to charge up to 240 miles per day. I'd never plug the thing in.

    Yeah, I know... it's an expensive car... Very. But, I've noticed that technology trickles down to the less expensive models pretty quick. Someday... Someday...
     
  4. mkiker2089

    mkiker2089 Elio Addict

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    I used to dream about solar until a physics teacher explained to me how little energy is there to be harnessed per square inch. Solar is great for large scale but generally speaking the space would better be served with trees or other greenery. I'm sure there are improvements to be made but I just don't know about a solar car. They had to cover the back glass and even then it's not even close to a reasonable range on a good day. In the winter you'd have to stay home. The same car could be powered by a windmill and solar panels on a home instead.

    The big push to solar right now isn't to run a car but to run auxiliary functions like the AC and radio.
     
  5. Samuel Gompers

    Samuel Gompers Elio Addict

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    Solar technology has been streetworthy for over 40 years. The documentary "Supervan" showed that back in 1977 vehicles could be powered / recharged by sunlight alone with great power and range. Only the conspiracy by Big Oil has kept this technology out of the hands of consumers for decades.




    Spoiler alert:




    Don't waste your time on the movie - it was really bad. And there was no Big Oil conspiracy. Oh, well.
     
  6. RSchneider

    RSchneider Elio Addict

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    Just like "Who Killed The Electric Car?" As we all know the electric car is dead. Nobody makes them and Big Oil got their way. Too bad because I really had hope for the electric car. Maybe someone down the road will make one. Big Oil just ruins everything. Same foe solar energy. Back in the 70's and 80's you seen them. Now they are all gone. Big Oil, Big Natural Gas and Big Electric Utilities killed them off too. maybe one day people will have solar panels on their homes, maybe there will be solar fields one day. Then those same Bigs killed off wind turbines too. Nowhere to be found. Also you know who killed off the DeLorean? It was NASA and the scientists. They found out those could be used for timeline manipulation. Big NASA and Big Science killed that fine product off.

    I love those old documentaries because watching them today is hilarious. I totally forgot about the Supervan.
     
  7. Ty

    Ty Elio Addict

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    The Lightyear One adds 30-40 miles per day (if you park outside while at work) via the solar panels on it's roof and hood. The latest advancement will take those panels from 20% efficient to 80% efficient... That could mean that vehicle may be able to add 160 miles of range per day. My question - if the car makes more electricity than it uses, will we be able to put that back into the grid from home? You could put your car in the garage and plug it in and run your home for a little while and drain down your solar car battery leaving enough to easily get to work the next day. Heck, you'd actually be getting paid to park at work!

    Okay, that's a little far fetched but with 160 miles of range being added every day, you'd likely never have to plug the thing in for most commutes. A Lyft driver (full time) covers about 1,000 miles a week. This electric/solar vehicle would be able to charge from the sun approximately 1,120 miles per week (assuming sunny days). Now, THAT wouldn't cost much to maintain! Too bad the car itself is like well over $100,000.

    97_lightyear_one_goodwood_6.jpg
     
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  8. RSchneider

    RSchneider Elio Addict

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    Solar for a car will become more and more practical over time. Think about it. 10 years ago EV’s were not as practical as they are today. With the amount of R&D going into alternate energy for transportation, 10 years from now we will be driving cars that we thought would never be possible, today. The last 10 years and the next 10 will be the golden age of the automobile.
     
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  9. Made in USA

    Made in USA Elio Addict

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    What some may be forgetting is that the electronics needed for self driving vehicles is a large load on the batteries. Having solar panels would help extend the range. Newer solar panels are getting more efficient and they don't have to be flat anymore. While I don't see solar panels being able to power anything all day long, it might just be enough to make it to work, park, recharge, and make it back home again. Probably a bigger consideration is if the additional cost of the solar cells is worth it. If you can make it to work and back on just batteries, then buying the electricity off the grid may be cheaper than the additional solar cost. It would also make more sense to install solar on your home, recharging the vehicle or selling the power to the grid. The about to be released IQ8 from Enphase would even allow your home to operate if the main grid goes down. It will be a mini-grid. It might not mean much, but insurance for a solar vehicle may be higher than insurance for a home solar system. It all comes down to saving money (and saving the planet).
     

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