Toyota plans solar-powered EV road tests

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Toyota Motor Corporation, NEDO and Sharp Corporation have announced plans to begin public road trials of solar battery-equipped EVs. Starting in July 2019, the tests will assess improvements in cruising range and fuel efficiency.

To enable the trial, Sharp has modularized its high-efficiency solar battery cells to create an onboard solar battery panel. Toyota has installed this panel on the roof, bonnet, tailgate and other parts of its Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

By enhancing the efficiency of the solar battery panel and expanding its onboard area, Toyota was able to achieve a rated generation output of around 860W.

In addition to substantially boosting its power generation output, the demo car employs a system that charges the driving battery while the vehicle is parked, as well as when it’s being driven.

Data, including the solar battery panel’s power generation and the amount the drive battery is charged, will be gathered and verified, and used in the development of an onboard solar recharging system.

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Sam joined the UKi Media & Events automotive team in 2017. Having started out as assistant editor for a number of titles including Engine + Powertrain Technology International, Automotive Testing Technology International and Professional Motorsport World, he was appointed editor of E+PTI in 2020. Sam produces content for both the magazine and website.

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