August 7, 2018
Your Next Car Could Be Solar Powered
- While lofty electric vehicle forecasts present solutions to decarbonising targets, clean power generation will need to advance in a similar fashion to support the industry. Panasonic have unveiled an improved solar panel to provide auxiliary power to EVs, with the first solar roof model of the Toyota Prius, the Prius Prime, slated for release this year.
- The new product, called HIT(tm) Photovoltaic Module for Automobile, will reportedly allow the Prius Prime to be powered by a 180 W solar module, which will recharge the car’s powertrain battery in addition to its 12 V battery. Previous attempts by Toyota to create a solar roof model had managed to generate a mere 50 W – only enough to power vehicle’s fans for air conditioning.
- According to Toyota, the addition of the solar panel will increase the Prius’ efficiency by up to 10%. In ideal conditions, the battery will add 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of electric range.
- Partnership with Panasonic for Tesla providing solar and battery cells, gives advantage for a model 3 featuring a solar roof option, as announced by Elon Musk.
- The trend is expected to draw significant demand for speciality metals which are consumed in the manufacture of slabs of semi-conductors. A non-exhaustive list suggests metals required include arsenic, aluminium, boron minerals, cadmium, copper, gallium, indium, iron ore, molybdenum, phosphorous, selenium, silica, silver, tellurium and titanium.