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Old 23rd March 2013, 22:30   #1
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Default Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

Today I had a chance to visit the Toyota dealership in the town and i came across a new Prius which was displayed in the showroom.

Prius has been famous with its hybrid technology where in it uses both the petrol engine and rechargeable battery for powering its motors.

What caught my attention was not just the Prius but the addition of a Solar Panel in the roof of the car.

As per the information this Solar panel plays a vital part in powering the electrical equipment of the car including the A/C.Initially I too thought the same to be a normal black roof but on closer inspection it was confirmed to be a solar panel.

Is this some new addition or the car already carried this feature before? Some pictures of the car and the solar panel.
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Old 24th March 2013, 02:32   #2
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Default re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by urzdeepu View Post
What caught my attention was not just the Prius but the addition of a Solar Panel in the roof of the car.

As per the information this Solar panel plays a vital part in powering the electrical equipment of the car including the A/C.Initially I too thought the same to be a normal black roof but on closer inspection it was confirmed to be a solar panel.

Is this some new addition or the car already carried this feature before? Some pictures of the car and the solar panel.
Interesting to see someone has booked a New Prius.

The Solar roof powers a fan that vents the cabin to maintain ambient temperature.

New feature for the Prius, yes. But a feature available on a Fifth generation Mazda 929 way back in 1991 - 1996.

Cheers.
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Old 24th March 2013, 06:35   #3
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Default re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

Yes, this is a new feature and the model i drove also had this strange noise when the car was driven purely by battery. On enquiry they mentioned it was intentionally added for the benefit of blind folks on road as earlier it used to be very silent and folks did not have any clue that a car was approaching them.
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Old 25th March 2013, 20:19   #4
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Originally Posted by Chillout View Post
Yes, this is a new feature and the model i drove also had this strange noise when the car was driven purely by battery. On enquiry they mentioned it was intentionally added for the benefit of blind folks on road as earlier it used to be very silent and folks did not have any clue that a car was approaching them.
Yes, that is correct. New EU and USA Norms require a hybrid or electric cars to produce an audible sound while running completely on Electric mode. As correctly mentioned by dealer, it is for benefit of the blind folks as well as the kids playing in neighborhoods.
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Old 26th March 2013, 01:02   #5
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Default Re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

that's the facelifted Prius. Had no idea Toyota had launched it already in India.
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Old 26th March 2013, 03:28   #6
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Default Re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

Like Gthang explained, the panel powers the blower which runs in 'fresh air' mode so that the air inside does not 'cook' to 55 deg while the car sits in the hot sun.

In doing so, it reduces the load on the A/C in the crucial 'first 10 mins' after startup and thus improves economy.

As a secondary benefit, it greatly enhances the comfort to the driver & passengers in those aforementioned few minutes.

Neither the V12 S-class or the V12 RR Phantom can boast of this feature

Last edited by Mpower : 26th March 2013 at 07:49.
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Old 26th March 2013, 08:54   #7
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Default Re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Like Gthang explained, the panel powers the blower which runs in 'fresh air' mode so that the air inside does not 'cook' to 55 deg while the car sits in the hot sun.

In doing so, it reduces the load on the A/C in the crucial 'first 10 mins' after startup and thus improves economy.

As a secondary benefit, it greatly enhances the comfort to the driver & passengers in those aforementioned few minutes.

Neither the V12 S-class or the V12 RR Phantom can boast of this feature
Hi, With such a large roof panel, is it only possible to power a fan? I think that panel can generate more power than that and can and should be used to charge the batteries? What's your opinion?

Rgds
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Old 26th March 2013, 11:48   #8
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Default Re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Like Gthang explained, the panel powers the blower which runs in 'fresh air' mode so that the air inside does not 'cook' to 55 deg while the car sits in the hot sun.

In doing so, it reduces the load on the A/C in the crucial 'first 10 mins' after startup and thus improves economy.

As a secondary benefit, it greatly enhances the comfort to the driver & passengers in those aforementioned few minutes.
Must be quite useful abroad. But in our smoky and dusty conditions, would this not be most undesirable? Imagine getting into the car and the car smelling like the nearby garbage truck or the smoke from the trucks.

Is there some filtering mechanism to prevent such situations?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post

Neither the V12 S-class or the V12 RR Phantom can boast of this feature
Precisely why these two did not make it to my shopping list last time

Last edited by revintup : 26th March 2013 at 11:51.
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Old 26th March 2013, 11:50   #9
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Originally Posted by speed kills View Post
OT:

Bit of a noob question, but I've always wondered why Hybrid vehicles have such boring rims

Has it got something to do with increasing fuel efficiency by reducing drag?

Case in point
I think yes.
I believe that's why the 2009 or 2010, I can't remember exactly which, F1 cars had the same 'wheel cap' rims on them to reduce drag and/or improve aero flow. Although in the laters case I think it was to improve performance rather than for efficiency reasons.

Last edited by Maky : 26th March 2013 at 11:52.
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Old 26th March 2013, 11:57   #10
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Default Re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

O.T.

Is it just me or has the Prius actually started looking good ?? Where have those quirky curves gone ??

And what a marvelous job they have done with the interiors, i couldn't resist posting a couple of pics :-

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Name:  toyotapriusinterior051.jpg
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Old 27th March 2013, 19:18   #11
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Default Re: Toyota Prius with roof-mounted solar panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by VineetG View Post
Hi, With such a large roof panel, is it only possible to power a fan? I think that panel can generate more power than that and can and should be used to charge the batteries? What's your opinion?
Solar panels simply lack the power density to power any kind of heavy electrical load.

State of the art solar panels currently make 10 watts/sq. ft and you can probably fit about 4-5 sqft on a E2o (50W)...this is only a fraction of the 3500 Watts (3.5kW) that the E2o needs for a 5 hour charge.


Quote:
Originally Posted by revintup View Post
Must be quite useful abroad. But in our smoky and dusty conditions, would this not be most undesirable? Imagine getting into the car and the car smelling like the nearby garbage truck or the smoke from the trucks.

Is there some filtering mechanism to prevent such situations?
You do bring up a good point.

I would assume that Prius (like any contemporary mid-luxury car) has a cabin air filter. But regardless, an disable feature would be greatly useful in Indian conditions.

Last edited by Mpower : 28th March 2013 at 00:11.
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