Featured Toyota testing new solar powered Prius

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

  1. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    My spouse's daily driver is a 1989 Integra, now several months past its 30th birthday. I bought it new for her, and made her maintain it my way because her prior car was having too many troubles that were possibly related to too-frugal patterns. It runs quite well for its age.

    But it is a deathtrap. It was perfectly fine for its era, but now is far behind the modern safety curve, with no ABS, no airbags, no side impact reinforcement to handle the SUV era. Don't even ask about traction control, stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, TPMS, or automatic braking or collision avoidance. I want her to give it up, but she won't just yet.

    Safety design have been changing rapidly ever since it was built, and the rate of change has sped up, not slowed down. Infotainment systems are now changing even faster. Emissions and fuel economy requirements have also been changing, though slower.

    Car designs are becoming functionally obsolete in one to two decades. Keeping many of them on the road much longer than that, with obsolete safety designs, is costly from a public health perspective.
     
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  2. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Well cars are more complicated and modularized to the point you have to replace whole units and not just parts. If you had ignition issues in the past, you would change out, points, condensers, distributor caps, etc.. Now it might be an ECU. Typically in the past I’ve repacked so many bearings it’s like a bad memory. Now they replace the entire thing because it’s sealed. These are not fun and really expensive. I know of a couple of people who were faced with spending a couple of thousand dollars in repairs, they traded it in and leased their next vehicle for $99 down and so much a month. With 0% interest or low lease payments it’s hard to argue with getting a newer vehicle.


    iPhone ? Pro
     
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  3. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The solar roof option is $3000 converted in Japan. Choosing it also means forgoing other options for the car. In parts of the world, the cost is considered worth it. these parts are also places more willing to spent extra for the more efficient gasoline engines, diesels, and hybrids. Toyota sites safety tests for the lack of solar option, but market research is also a factor.

    I've seen luxury cars with a rear motorized shade. The motorized bit is likely why more don't have it. Not only is it another part to break, but it also a way of adding weight to the car, and Toyota took a wiper off the Eco Prius to cut weight.

    IR reflecting paints and glass tint can do much of the same even while the car is moving, without the potential hassle.

    My parents have a couple of these in their home.
    Solatube International, Inc.
    Don't need to turn on the lights of the interior bathroom during the day.

    In a word, buffering.

    The current solar roof option for the Prime has a Prius sized NiMH battery under the rear seat. That is what the panel charges. I don't recall why, but Toyota determined is was better to charge that while the car was parked and have it dump its charge to the traction pack on start up than directly charge the main battery.

    A solar panel is going to put out a steady charge under sunlight. It isn't going to provide power when it is needed. So you need to collect and store it. So you need to the battery to do that while also being able to collect energy from brakes, and have saleable range during the night.

    Don't forget, as a experimental prototype the supporting components to the panels were hand assembled, tuned, and more efficient that what the consumer product use.

    A cordless charging company was claiming high efficiency rates; comparable to plugging the car in. In the research paper they were using more efficient chargers than what BEVs and PHEVs come installed with.

    A development in town has a communal PV installation at their entrance.

    Ford unveiled a doghouse and crib concept(two separate things) a year or two ago. Who knows Wth car companies are really working on now.

    Cars are also cleaner today, and ICE cars get dirtier with time as components wear and age. Same can be said about safety systems. Air bag propellants aren't generally good forever. They may not spontaneously go off, but the chemicals can degrade to being able to fully inflate the bag.
     
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  4. Prius Pete

    Prius Pete Active Member

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    The roof of my house has poor solar exposure, but my car sits parked for days at a time in the sunniest part of my property. With a Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) system and a solar Prius, the car could provide power to the house, without having to mount additional solar panels. Using the car's battery, I could also shift my grid usage to cheaper off-peak times during the week. My on-peak and mid-peak usage total only about 6.5 KWhr/day so the Prime's battery could potentially cover most of that. The key to making this work would be having good time-of-day/week control for the V2H and charging power. Toyota could increase the customer value of a solar Prius by making a good V2H system available in markets where it is sold.
     
  5. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    My understanding is in the USA regulations prevent this.
    Toyota could get this working perfectly, but until regulations are changed, and if necessary, changes are made to the grid to allow this on a large scale, it won’t be available in the USA.
     
  6. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    Lots of cars sit in a single layer out in open air parking lots most of their life, lots of potential there
     
  7. GasperG

    GasperG Senior Member

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    And a lot of those cars on the street can't be charged easily by pluging in.
     
  8. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    There is no federal law in the US for or against V2G, its all state and local. Austin Energy is experimenting with a micro grid and V2G in one neighborhood with 250 homes with solar panels 65 of which have BEVs. The only vehicle they are using to provide energy back to the grid is the nissan leaf as that is the manufacturer that allows it. Other bevs often get charged based on the grid, and other homes have stand alone batteries. The US army is also experimenting with the concept, as are other areas around the world. The prime with solar is a particularly bad vehicle for such an experiment because the solar potential and battery are so small its unlikely toyota would have the buffer to feed the grid and safely allow drivers to use the battery.

    For prius pete, if that prime was positioned perectly, and you built a ramp so that it was at the correct angle and never moved it could produce 3.6 kwh dc/day on average in toronto. I expect that you would see less than half of that if its just parked flat on the ground and not tilted south. You might do slightly better if you built a tilting platform for the car that followed the best sun. Then you have charging losses, dc to dc converter losses, then losses converting the battery to ac. If its flat I would expect you would do around 1.5 kwh/day on average. That is about one quarter of your daily usage of electricity, but it would be a very expensive 550 kwh/year, much more than your utility charges on peak.

    Still over time perhaps people will bring prices down. Even then I expect the batteries for v2g microgrids to be in bevs with at least 30 kwh of storage, and solar to come from fixed less expensive panels that will last 30 years.
     
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  9. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    My car, on the other hand, spaneds the sunniest part of the day parked at my employer. It also gets gets driven nearly every day, so any PV mounted on it likely won't produce enough excess to warrant a V2H system.

    Last time I checked a couple years ago, such home V2H chargers were $8000 to $10,000 before installation.

    The school by my brother's covered their lot with a PV canopy. It will shade the cars, reducing their AC use, and may make snow clearing easier.
     
  10. Prius Pete

    Prius Pete Active Member

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    My total daily usage is more like 20KWhr/day but it skews heavily to the cheaper hours after 7pm. I have already experimented with power shifting using a couple of lead-acid batteries and chargers, grid-tied inverter on timers. It worked, but I needed more battery capacity and the timers, chargers and batteries were not reliable enough for 365 day/year operation with deep discharging. Any solar input would be a bonus. I also already use my Prius for emergency power during outages via a pure-sine inverter I can hook up.

    Since our grid here is mostly carbon-free, it is purely a cost-saving measure for me to reduce my power bill. Feasibility depends highly on pricing, now unknown. I won't be trying to tilt the car!
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    what happens to the solar array when the car is junked?
     
  12. Prius Pete

    Prius Pete Active Member

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    But I could install some reflectors around my parking space.
     
  13. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Well since the Sharp Thin Film Solar Cells are mounted on a polymer film (probably polyamide), you’d have to focus on getting that off of the roof of the car.

    Actually it might be easier to just take the roof and hood of the car, as well as the wiring harness.

    iPad ? Pro

    They also put it on the back window which will likely never fly in the US. But when I looked at my Prime parked next to my wife’s NXh, I think they are trying to simulate putting them on a SUV roof.


    iPad ? Pro
     
    #113 drash, Jul 15, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2019
  14. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I don't know if the Lightyear One will be sold in the US but it doesn't have a rear window either.
     
  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Doesn't it also delete the side mirrors, replacing everything with cameras.

    I don't think its initial run will be sold outside Europe.
     
    #115 Trollbait, Jul 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  16. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I think so but I don’t recall. I’ll have to watch the video again.

    Yeah our version will need mirrors since US law doesn’t allow cameras
     
  17. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Or the opposite, they inflate the bag too fast, flinging shrapnel at the passengers.
    I'd rather put up a solar carport or awning over the parking spaces. This can provide far more solar collection area, thus harvest far more energy, than just the tops of the cars. Like this, but with even more complete coverage:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The panels themselves will also cost less and be in service longer than those on a car.
     
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  19. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    And not get as dirty as quickly. But might be harder to clean.

    Mike
     
  20. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Never work here, particularly in the winter. I thought of putting one up on our turnaround, but it would limit where I could shove snow during the winter and shade the area the sun would clear natually. But I still am thinking of putting up a solar pergola in our back yard.


    iPad ? Pro
     
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