Featured Toyota testing new solar powered Prius

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Prius Pete, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Prius Pete

    Prius Pete Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    145
    145
    2
    Location:
    Toronto
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    The new thin-film solar panels would solve the crash safety problem. The current solar roof can shatter.
     
  2. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,490
    5,506
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    the thing is, thin film is even less efficient, on top of all the other losses mentioned above. One other downside, because solar is usually dark blue or black, that will generate more heat, meaning more need for AC.
    But panels on a home's roof? There, they are typically elevated above whatever roof sheathing is below, anywhere from 4 to 8 in. That allows the panels to remain a little bit cooler, & thus not lose as much efficiency.
    .
     
  3. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    12,481
    6,050
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Some places have "Community Solar" programs, allowing people to band together into larger projects and better locations, sharing the costs and production incentive payments, and even providing higher incentive payments than for individual installations: For Washington and Oregon: Community Solar – Spark Northwest

    I participated in one of the early WA projects to help ensure a successful kickstart, but it turned out that getting participation was not a problem at all, many projects sold out quickly. There ended up being 76 projects under the old law, then 26 more under the new law before the program closed. High solar participation (both community and individual) meant that the legislated incentive caps were being reached early, forcing reduced incentives. I find that to be a very encouraging problem to have.

    Because of the reduced incentives from exceeding program caps, my 'investment' in that project may not end up with a positive financial return before the incentives end next year and that solar installation is charitably turned over to the facility that provided the site. But I don't care, I just wanted to help boost solar adoption in my region, and that goal has been reached. With a vengeance.

    Apartment dwellers who band together now for such a system won't be able to get nearly such sweet incentives as we once had. But unlike the project I joined, they also won't be giving up ownership of their share of an installation at the end of an initial incentive period. Their ownership and net-metering benefits can continue for as long as the installation remains functional and serviceable.
     
    #83 fuzzy1, Jul 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
    alanclarkeau likes this.
  4. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    12,644
    3,380
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    yes, its kw not kwh, had written kw earlier in another post, but did the typo here. Still going with likely 2.5 meter area on the car needed, and approximately 600 kwh charged in a year (1/2 of ideal in my area) if parked conscientiously in the sun all the time.

    They are different beasts, a mini van versus a tall hatchback. Chrysler did a good job for not having experience with hybrids before. Compare Side-by-Side


    prime is more efficient of course, the pacifica is saves more gas a year versus its non phev incarnation.

    With an array that size you can at most, in ideal conditions run at about 4 mph at the efficiency of the prime. If you are going 60 mph the 8.8 kwh will use its SOC is 25 minutes, that solar panel if its giving 100% in perfect sunlight will let you travel for 26.5 minutes, not really helpful to go for an extra 90 seconds or so.

    The idea is you drive to work, it charges while you are there, then you have a little more charge to go home. My guess is on an average day this might be 1.6 kwh, but peak days 5.3 kwh. If anything you make the battery a little bigger not smaller so you can capture those peak days. Batteries are much less expensive than triple junction solar cells.
    To take advantage of such a panel you would need a battery approximately 7kwh to hold the charge from peak days and keep a reasonable SOC utilization. The prime is 8.8 kwh. Average lion battery packs cost $176/kwh (Primes is probably around $400, but that should be falling) so I would go bigger 12 kwh to allow filling at home and charging during the day. Current technology makes that 0.86 kw tri-junction panel expensive but hopefully over the years costs will come down as they have for standard panels. solar one's lightyear has slightly less efficient panels but designed the car to have double the area for solar (5 square meters), and its an expensive bev.
     
  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    39,682
    11,177
    40
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    I guess it’s a scale I’m the US but in Canada, 15kWh is the threshold between the lower and upper tier for rebates.

    So 15 vs 12... that extra 3kWh will double the federal and provincial incentives.

    Ford is probably kicking themselves as the new Escape PHEV is supposed to get a 14kWh battery.
     
  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    2,149
    2,012
    1
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    The solar cells are likely to get cheaper with more volume production. They're already much lighter, and they don't take up any interior volume. While I haven't worked with the triple-junction type, if they're anything at all like others they'll have a wonderfully long life before output drops much. I have a few 32 year old panels now, they're still working great! I don't have any 32 year old batteries.
     
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,657
    12,546
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Who will replace fuel cells?

    I know, car mounted solar cells.

    Bob Wilson
     
    inferno likes this.
  8. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,490
    5,506
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    it's likely the Pacifica benefited from Fiat's experience w/their little 500e. Like its little cousin, both actively manage their traction pack temps via liquid cooling. Although the liquid cooling fans on our model X screamed pretty loud while supercharging, the Pacifica's active Cooling is no slouch either.


    at 5,000 miles now - it saves us at least as much gas as our Prius did - even wirh my lead footed better ½ zooming around

    20190706_061956-1.jpg
    And like you said years ago, (paraphrasing) you only have to increase an Abrams tank 1 mile per gallon to increase its efficiency 200%. Ie; an efficient land barge may save a whole lot more fuel than a midsize or small HEV that increases its MPG 20 miles per gallon.
    .
     
    austingreen likes this.
  9. Prashanta

    Prashanta Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    76
    82
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    You have no doubt that other AUTO manufacturers are working night and day to increase SOLAR efficiency and to bring down costs?

    You must also have no doubts that car companies are working day and night on mining asteroids.
     
  10. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    1,203
    765
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere in Wisconsin
    Vehicle:
    2013 Chevy Volt
    Model:
    N/A
    I see a lot of black cars on the road or worse with black interiors

    A simple thin honeycomb or hollow tubular structure under the panel would add strength and eliminate much of the heat issue, a small fan could eliminate the rest

    Though no current dark colored car gets either

    Thinking further many cars when ordered “white” come with large black sections of body panels and black or dark interiors
    The I3 an EV does this.
     
    #90 Rmay635703, Jul 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    81,608
    35,282
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    how would that be useful to them?

    you think no other automobile manufacturers are working on solar?
     
  12. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,490
    5,506
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Tesla comes to mind - but they see no need for it on their cars. Fiskar - they had one & apparently its rollover tests passed .... but the company itself is nearly a fail compared to other companies that monkey with solar roofs.
    .
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    81,608
    35,282
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    just because companies don't always hype pie in the sky, way down the road technology, doesn't mean they're not working on it.
     
    Tideland Prius likes this.
  14. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    10,648
    3,177
    1
    Location:
    Northern VA (NoVA)
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    I am thinking I saw a solar roof Telsa on their web page a few years ago, but I do not know what became of that.
     
  15. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    12,644
    3,380
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    There is plenty of volume of solar panels to invest in R&D for the tri juction stuff, the problem is the materials science, that is what the DOE and METI (japan's technology subsidizer) are investing in. Sharp - toyota's partner in this has been working on it for over a decade. Main applications are space because weight trumps cost there, and concentrated solar power. Obviously a car roof is a bad place for concentrated power. New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization is funding this toyota/sharp research.

    3 extra kwh of battery will cost tesla only $300 in 2025, my guess is this will cost toyota/sharp around $5K. Tesla's likely has a 50% mark up on batteries, that is telsa will charge $600. Let's say toyota charges cost at $5K. Cars don't last 32 years except in cuba or if they are garaged or mountains of cash are spent on maintenance. Lets talk about 12 years useful life. At 0% interest ;-) and 600 kwh/year production on tis toyota/sharp stuff and assuming 80% charging efficiency from the wall, we need 9000 kwh from the wall to charge the equivalent (lets face it the panels require if anything a higher energy battery not a lower one so no battery savings). $4400/9000 kwh = $0.49 usd/kwh to break even. Its about $0.28 usd/kwh in japan and I can see them selling it as a novelty there where the state does not make it easy for individuals to add solar. Definitely an R&D breakthrough in manufacturing could cut the price in half or moreand make these things worthwhile in places like hawaii and germany. My guess is they would need to sell it for $2500 or less to get many takers on a car like the prime. The solar roof currently is in this ballpark but much cheaper to manufacture but according to toyota will only provide about 14% of the energy of this new one during a year.

    Tesla Model 3: Elon Musk virtually kills the possibility of a solar roof option - Electrek
    Not going to happen anytime soon. Battery prices have dropped too fast. That solar sunshade does look cool for camping trips though ;-)

    Toyota covers Prius Prime with solar panels to test mileage
    remember its an R&D effort. How much larger of a battery do you need to get this useful and how many kwh/kw will be generated in a year by a driver that conscientiously parks for solar.

    Lightyear one designed the car around bev and panels, and probably has about 2x the real estate for solar. They are using 27% efficient cells versus toyota/sharps 37% efficient cells (sharp demonstrated even more expensive 44% efficient cells in the lab 3 years ago).
     
    #95 austingreen, Jul 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
    wjtracy and Prius Pete like this.
  16. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    2,149
    2,012
    1
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    I can't dispute any of that; my comments are largely driven by price sensitivity. If cheap lightweight panels can help reduce the size (and therefore cost) of a battery, that's great. If they aren't cheap there's no point. The way I see it, the Prius PHEV needs a crash content diet to get back on budget. They have seemed to be a good deal given the initial phase of the tax scheme, but with that stepping down and eventually ending, Toyota has a lot of work ahead.

    Also I think it's a bit silly that nobody is planning automobiles for much longer service lives. We still treat cars as disposable appliances with 10-15 year lifespans. Granted that's up a bit from 30 years ago, but it just doesn't look like much progress.

    Last time I checked, Musk was struggling to do solar roofs on houses, let alone cars.
     
    #96 Leadfoot J. McCoalroller, Jul 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  17. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,490
    5,506
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    #97 hill, Jul 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    81,608
    35,282
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    mostly consumer driven, we don't want to keep cars for a long time. if we did, manufacturers would have to compete for longevity
     
  19. Prius Pete

    Prius Pete Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    145
    145
    2
    Location:
    Toronto
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    The Gen 2's are just starting to hit 15 years and most are going strong. Mine drives like new with no rust or rattles at 330K km. Original owners may have moved on but there are lots of happy buyers of used Gen 2's.

    According to dashboard-light, 12% of 2004 Prius trade-ins had a power-train problem (including bad HV battery). Camry 8%. Corolla 9%. Elantra 15%. Ford Focus: 17%. Civic 17%. Mazda3 17%. Impreza 17%. Optima 18%. Golf 20%. Sentra 23%. Jetta 25%

    One reason people replace their car is to get new features and technology. Cars are evolving fast these days. Even at 15 years, though, I don't feel my car is much out of date. It's a hybrid, of course, and it features a touch screen -- most cars have them now but it was rare in 2004. I have added a backup camera, parking sensors and bluetooth audio. The fact that a Prius is a bit more technologically advanced means that it can last longer before becoming seriously out-dated.

    Toyotas in general are built for a long service life. Maybe your point does apply to other brands, however.
     
  20. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    2,149
    2,012
    1
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    I've always viewed cars as a fairly blank canvas for technology: I install all the cool goodies I want after I buy it. And then update them a few times along the way. I realize most people don't do that with their cars, but it's really been working for us.

    We are early into our first Toyota but it really does seem properly done for long life. I think this car is likely to last 12 years... we require 8 from it. That's a nice comfort margin.
     
Loading...