The Toyota Prius PHV, a Japan-exclusive model of the hybrid, first came into the spotlight because of its mounted solar power cells built to increase power for the engine. Recently, Toyota unveiled a new design of its solar power cells, which not only enhances the car’s power supply but also extends its range.
The batteries are positioned over a broader area of the body including the hood, top, and rear hatch door. The new technology includes a redesigned solar battery cell film that measures only 0.03 millimeters, or less than 0.0012 inches. The new version is capable of generating 860 W, about 4.8 times more than the current model on the market.
The technology is a result of the partnership between NEDO, a Japanese national research organization, and Sharp, the manufacturer of the cells. Together they were able to produce an updated prototype that converts solar energy at 34 percent efficiency, up from 22.5 percent for the current model. The increased power generation allows the vehicle to power its own battery, whereas the current commercial model was only able to power the onboard auxiliary battery, which runs the radio, air conditioning systems, and navigation.
Altogether, Toyota expects the new design to be able to add 27.7 miles of extra range for each day the Prius sits in the sun. The driving system and auxiliary battery can also receive an added 35 miles of power in the same situation.
Celebrate this expanded range of the Prius PHV when you stop by Ken Nelson Toyota to test-drive a shiny new Prius.