Toyota Develops Prius that Runs on the Sun
Toyota is working with electronics’ giant Sharp on a way to power a car virtually free and virtually forever. So far the collaboration has resulted in a specially modified Toyota Prius PHEV that is covered with scores of highly flexible, highly efficient, and thus highly expensive solar cells. Using solar cells to help power accessories such as cooling fans is not new to the Prius, and several startups are planning solar powered vehicles in the near future. But, this is the first known effort by an established car builder to power the entire car with energy from the sun. Previous such efforts have largely been relegated to solar competitions where the results were tiny or single occupant cars with limited practicality. So, showing solar practicality with a 5-passenger Prius is clearly a step forward. As reported by Bloomberg and others, Toyota says the stored solar power gives this experimental Prius a range of up to 35 electric-only miles beyond what the car’s original plug-in system delivers.