Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Solar Car Roof Daydream Now Exists: Hello Solar Prius

Gazing out the airplane window during a recent ascent, the glare of all the cars in the endless parking lots of the Philadelphia airport seemed to me like a huge wasted opportunity: why not put solar panels on cars' roofs so that when they're parked outside they can be charging? Maybe someday you'll be able to pay for your parking by hooking your car up and generating electricity into the parking lot's grid.... Or charge something inside your car - a battery, radio, CD player, or whatever. That's as far as my vision went.
Driving on vacation (why there's been no recent blog post, BTW) and listening to my beloved NPR, I heard a clip about the new model 2009 Prius, and indeed the solar paneled roof is a reality. Looking around online, lots of people have had the idea. The picture above is from a company which adapts Priuses, Solar Electrical Vehicles. And Toyota has announced solar panels as a feature on its new high-end Prius model. The panels are manufactured by Kyocera and the energy will be directed towards the AC system. This makes sense, since you most need AC when it's blazing hot outside!
It does feel like we're getting smarter about this stuff.


Russell McNeil said...

What isn't clear is whether the solar option will be available on the 2009 Model year Prius (which will be available in the fall pf 09) or will be an option on the 2010 Model year Generation-3 Prius due for release in the fall (or earlier) of 2009.

Anonymous said...

Solar panels on cars are such an innovative idea. We need more innovation so we do not need to depend as much on oil from the volatile middle east.

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