In collaboration with Sharp Corp. and NEDO, Toyota Motor Corp. will soon begin public road trials of electrified vehicles equipped with solar batteries.
The trials, expected to commence in late July, aim to assess improvements in the vehicles’ cruising range and fuel efficiency.
Sharp modularized its solar battery cells, developed for a previous NEDO-led project, to create an onboard solar battery panel. Toyota has installed this panel on the roof, hood, rear hatch door and other parts of its Prius PHV and produced a demo car for public road trials. By enhancing the solar battery panels’ efficiency and expanding the onboard area, Toyota was able to achieve a rated power generation output of around 860 W, which is approximately 4.8 times higher than that of the commercial Prius PHV equipped with a solar charging system, the automaker says.
In addition to substantially boosting its power generation output, the demo car employs a system that charges the driving battery while the vehicle is both parked and being driven, a development that is expected to lead to considerable improvements in electric-powered cruising range and fuel efficiency, according to Toyota.
Toyota plans to conduct the trials under various driving conditions in Japan.