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article imageToyota testing out self-powering solar cars

By Tim Sandle     Jul 6, 2019 in Technology
Tokyo - Imagine driving an electric car that charges as you drive? Toyota are experimenting with fitting solar cells into the roofs of cars to see if cars can self-charge as they drive along.
Toyota has previously tested out solar power cells on the Prius PHV (a pilot vehicle that was only available in Japan). Based on some success in an attempt to design a self-powering electric car, Toyota is working with electronics firm Sharp and Japanese national research organization New Energy and Industrial Technology Development (NEDO), to seek further innovations with the technology.
The prototype automotive's solar cells can reportedly convert solar energy at 34 percent. This is considered to be sufficient to charge a car’s driving battery while the car is actually being driven. These cells are just 0.03 millimeters thick, but they can deliver around 860 watts of power. If engineers continue to achieve incremental improvements, then a completely self-charging car may not be too far away.
With the latest demonstration model, TechCrunch reports that the technology can provide up to 44.5 kilometers (27.7 miles) of additional range per day while the car is parked in a sunny area. In addition to this, when being driven the solar technology can provide a further 56.3 kilometers (35 miles) of power. This extra power can be diverted to either the driving system or to the auxiliary power battery system (which is located on board to operate air conditioning, navigation and other ancillary features). While this power capture is useful, it remains a long way from powering a car for a substantial journey.
According to The Verge, testing with Toyota's next-gen solar car is due to begin on public roads in Japan later during July 2019 (beginning with Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Tokyo); however, there is no indication as to when a commercial vehicle release is expected.
More about Toyota, Solar, Solar power, Cars, Driving
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