Toyota Prius solar technology to recharge future cars
Peter Neilson's picture

This New Tech Could Make A Solar Toyota Prius Practical

2020 is the year we are going to see some incredible things. This new solar technology is going to change everything we know about solar charging. Here is what it could mean for the solar Prius of the future.
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I was thinking a similar thing you are thinking, yeah, right. A solar Prius seems pretty ridiculous. Even covering the whole car in solar panels, keeping them clean and in sunlight still would be a minimal gain.

What if there were solar panels that were not panels, though? What if the whole car was a giant photovoltaic cell? That idea may not be that far off. Here is what you need to know about this new transparent solar energy source.

How Could This Technology Benefit Prius?
This solar technology is not just some whimsical thought dreamt up one day. Researchers at Michigan State University or MSU have analyzed transparent solar technology. They have said that these devices can provide a similar amount of electricity generation and provide additional functionality.

transparent solar cell for the future of Toyota Prius

If Toyota were to come forth with a solar plug-in Prius, the availability for solar capture would increase even more. The technology is transparent, so putting it on the windows now is possible, thus giving more space for solar capture.

When Could We See This Technology?
That is a great question. I think that with the massive push from Toyota and other major carmakers to bring forth EV's in the next 5 to 10 years. Couple that with the development of solid-state batteries, and you can see where the emphasis is placed.

traditional solar farm

The crazy thing is this technology has been researched over the past five decades. But now it is starting to make headway as the push to dump fossil fuels grows. The technology has a lot of untapped potentials, but it can offer. My prediction is that once the heat dies off of battery tech and the EV push, we will see further development in how we charge.

Conclusion
I think that this tech has some outstanding potential, but we are not there yet. Who knows, maybe 2020 is going to be the year that we have the biggest breakthroughs.

I hope your new year is incredible and you can find the Prius you have always wanted. Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out my next story. Certified Hybrid Repair Centers Are Closer Than You Think

Watch the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid Prime video presentation and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily automotive news analysis.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting


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Comments

That transparent solar research work was first shown more than 5 years ago. Do you have news saying that it is being implemented in Toyotas? Because otherwise I have not heard anything except the original idea being recirculated year after year. Solar powered cars are of course a cool idea since many of us have our cars sitting outside in the sun for much of the year while at work. But even though solar panels cost has dropped over the years, and new panels yield more power than before, still the payback for the cost of adding solar panels to a car is hard to justify considering the relatively low cost of electricity. Say a very efficient solar array on the top of a car could yield 12kW of electricity sitting in full sun (which is generous) The cost to charge your car at home off-peak would be around $1.50 (depending on region and time charged), but how many days of saving $1.50 would it take to recoup the price of adding solar panels to a car? Especially, cool, transparent, experimental panels? It's a fun idea, but very far from being practical.