Which Solar Vehicle Will Make It Into the U.S. Showroom First: Tesla or Toyota?


Panasonic Toyota Prius Prime

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Windermere Blue Sunset (credit: Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker)
Below is a re-post from one of our sister publications, Windermere Sun:

Over some of the social networks, our previous post of  Climate March Orlando on April 29, 2017 received much attention and debate/discussion regarding climate change. At one point, I did comment, “I am optimistic, for solar and wind costs have already dropped tremendously in recent years. Solar is more cost effective than conventional fossil fuel in many places. Electric vehicle and solar e-vehicles are coming in. These progress will all help in keeping carbon emission in check or be reduced in our earth’s atmosphere.”

Case in point, I’d like to share a video that demonstrates how Panasonic is building the full-length solar roof for Japan’s Prius Prime plug in hybrid, below:

Panasonic announced an advanced solar car that will debut as the 2017 model Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid in Japan (the Prius Prime) last week. This is going to be the first commercially available, mass produced passenger car to feature an optional solar charging system! Improvements in solar technology efficiency combined with advanced design and technologies to laminate three-dimensional curved glass have allowed a high output (tripling the output of previous solar roof that was only able to ventilate parked cars and auxiliary charging of the standard 12-volt lead acid battery). As the solar panels and electric vehicle become cheaper and more efficient, the potential range boost will likely to  occur. The 2017 Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid with about 25 miles of range available on a fully charged battery before it needs gasoline.It gets 54  miles per gallon (combined city-highway EPA estimate) when running on gas. Its EPA estimated electric mileage is 133 mpg-e.

Its solar roof option will initially be offered only in Japan (on Japanese models) until Toyota and Panasonic develop an improvement to the reinforced curved glass panels, which would not pass U.S. rollover standards.

The panel is capable of producing 180 watts of electricity, which is apparently enough to power car accessories (which weren’t specified) and also charge the lithium-ion batteries. According to Toyota, this panel can add up to 3.7 miles of range a day to the car’s battery while parked, and it also helps charge the battery while the car is in motion. It also fits the contours of the Prius roof and doesn’t change the design.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted in November 2016 that he wanted a solar roof option for the Tesla Model 3, Tesla’s affordable long-range electric car that had record pre-sales. Whether it will be Tesla solar car or Toyota solar car make it into the U.S. showroom first, one thing to be certain: our streets will soon be covered with Solar Powered Electric Vehicles….to reduce carbon emissions and to slow down the warming of our planet earth! I gladly await for the electric vehicle that will allow me to have both self-driving and solar powered features long before I reach my 80’s. It is an amazing world we’re living in!


Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at info.WindermereSun@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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