Jul 06

Next Generation Prius to Have Solar Panel Roof Option

 

Ever since the Volt concept was first introduced in January 2007 a lot of people have voiced the opinion that solar panels on the roof would be a good idea.  Those who understand the current costs of solar panels and their energy output usually determine that the amount of energy which could be contributed to the batteries is relatively quite small.

Nonetheless it seems to have some strong green-cred marketing value.

All this talk might even have led GM to consider having such an option for the Volt as Bob Lutz recently alluded to .

Today news has come out of Japan that the next generation Toyota Prius will offer a solar roof option.  The panels will be made by Kyocera and "the power generated by the system would be used for the air conditioning."

Source (Reuters )

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 6th, 2008 at 8:40 pm and is filed under Competitors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 118


  1. 1
    Statik

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (8:49 pm)

    Solar panels to control the interior atmosphere of a car seemed like the only viable application of a solar panel even when we were discussing it for the Volt.

    It’s not a ‘value-added’ option necessarily, but a ‘luxury/convenience’ option. This application sounds more like something that will be taken advantage of on its Lexus cousin.


  2. 2
    Grizzly

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (8:49 pm)

    Not a bad idea. It will have more marketing appeal than anything else.


  3. 3
    JEC

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:03 pm)

    Solar power on a car roof is just a waste of time. You might get about 10 sq. ft. max area, and with a efficient solar panel, of 20 watts/sq. ft, that equates to 200 Watts.

    Now I need to park the car in sun, so I can get air conditioning? I assume they are just going to run a very small compressor to generate the ac, and keep the cabin somewhat cool, even though I am not in it.

    I think parking in shade and cracking the windows would get you as far.

    Lets not put extra stuff on a vehicle because someone thinks it’s “green”. If really does provide benefit then fine, else toss it.

    Also, now you need to worry about damaging this expensive roof. No parking near any baseball diamonds to watch your kids play baseball.

    I don’t have the facts and figures, but my gut tells me this is a true “anti-green” idea.


  4. 4
    Tall Pete

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:04 pm)

    Competition is good. In the end, Toyota will help bring a better Volt to market and give a push to research in the field of solar panel. I’m sure we could do a lot better solar panels but engineers never had the reasons and the money to find better solutions so we never pushed that way…

    Market is the key. If it sells, we’re on the way to much better cars.


  5. 5
    Anthony BC

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:09 pm)

  6. 6
    2Snowboard

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:17 pm)

    I’m no fan of the car that looks like a pregnant rollarskate or its cult following of foreign car devotes, but solar cells on the roof is a smart idea, even if the current technology amounts to little more then feeling good about yourself, its a good development.

    Keep in mind that the entire concept of their hybrid drive gets them at most 10 miles electric, which makes the Prius itself rather impractical compared to a subcompact, but it was through this symbol that people reevaluated the concept of alternative energy cars being mainstream, and gave birth to the Volt concept, among other things.

    The same will likely be true of solar cells on car roofs. As they get more common and mass produced, they improve efficiency, that is the way of all things. They will then be able to capture more energy, and like the people who decided that the friction and heat from braking could be used as a powersource, you have to stop and realize–sunshine is free. Probably not a feature for every area, but in southern California, let me inform you all of something, the sun is hot. There is a lot of energy being wasted every day that we could use to further our energy independence.


  7. 7
    Mark

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:20 pm)

    I’d rather they make the Prius a Plug-in car first, THEN put solar panels on it…


  8. 8
    rs1971

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:32 pm)

    I think that for most people this option may be more of a novelty than anything else, but for those of us who live where it routines reaches 110 degrees during the summer months, this would be a great feature. It’s difficult to describe how awful it is to come out of the mall in Phoenix, AZ in July and try to force yourself into your oven of a car. I would definitely pay for whatever this option cost.

    -rs1971


  9. 9
    Paul-R

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:35 pm)

    What I would like … an option to circulate a small amount of (non conditioned) air though the cabin if the cabin temp gets too hot (maybe above 110F) relative to the outside temp. This would draw just a small amount of electricity. I don’t really care if it’s solar powered, as long as the panel doesn’t cost too much. Running off the battery would probably be fine.

    Leaving the windows cracked achieves a similar affect, but it makes the car less secure, and too vulnerable (IMHO) to the brief summer downpours that are common in some parts of the USA.


  10. 10
    terryk

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (9:52 pm)

    Paul R #9

    If it just circulates air in the passenger compartment when you are stopped it’s worth it. Unless it’s some unreal price. Functionally it’s cool….

    Edit: Ok, I realized I just said the same thing as you!


  11. 11
    Eclectic Dan

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:05 pm)

    I know I’m in the minority here, but a solar roof could be a good option for me. Especially if JEC is right about the fact that the panel could generate 200 watts. At work, I park in the sun for about 8 hours per day. So in theory I could get a 1.6kwh charge from the roof panel. If the Volt gets 5 miles per kwh (40miles/8kwh) an 8 hour solar charge would get me 8 miles. I only commute 9 miles, so it’s almost a free ride home from the sun. Right?

    Of course, if it takes 25 years to pay itself off, it’s pretty much academic.


  12. 12
    Sun Powa

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:14 pm)

    Another mighty Prius feature will be the new Ultra Solar Panel. When parked a ginourmous panel will robotically extract itself from within the vehicle and provide the following :

    - Cover the entire Prius like an umbrella (nice cooling via shade)
    - Quadruple the current of the “regular” rooftop solar panel
    - Provide econimical trickle charging of those powerful batteries
    - Shield the Prius from poor weather conditions (hail, lightning, etc)
    - Provide extra theft deterent
    - Can be painted to display advertising to offset cost (the google effect)
    - Can be attached to the power grid to earn bonus bucks

    The Volt must have a similar option or they will look inferior to Prius.


  13. 13
    omegaman66

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:28 pm)

    Eclectic Dan yeap you will get 8 miles. That will save you how much money? Maybe 15 cents??? Remember for you your car would run those 8 miles on electric anyway since you commute is only 9 miles.

    It would be more practical and cost efficient for someone that works a day job, parks in the sun, can’t plug in at work and drive about 25 or more miles to work.


  14. 14
    canehdian

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:31 pm)

    #12 – it can unfold like the solar sails of a spacecraft! Perfect! ;)

    Until panels gets really cheap or paint-on nanosolar is viable, this is just a waste of money.

    The better bet is the “electro-chromatic” windows someone mentioned a while back that can be tinted to not allow the sun’s rays in – effectively keeping your car cool.


  15. 15
    Arch

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:32 pm)

  16. 16
    Bailers

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:52 pm)

    If GM announced that they were considering making a GM-Volt that is aquatic, I’m convinced that a month or two later we would see a waterproof car from Toyota. If the Volt is the vaporware they claim it to be, why do they seem so scared?


  17. 17
    tBay

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:55 pm)

    GM should definitely add a solar panel roof as an option no matter how novel it’s purpose may be. Like he said, it’ll definitely add some green-cred marketing value to the Volt which will be important when it goes on sale and starts to face competition. I’m sure GM can come up with an efficient way the panel can be used whether its providing air conditioning power (like Toyota plans to do) or charging the battery. If the Volt is going to be as gas-free as possible it might as well have an optional photovoltaic roof.

    Electro-Chromatic windows that tint with the touch of a button would be awesome! If the Volt debuted with such a feature, I bet every new car would start to use that technology!!


  18. 18
    Grizzly

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (10:57 pm)

    Arch #15

    Amazing isn’t it? Reading that article you would have sworn that they just misprinted the date . That would have been the kind of article circulating a year or so ago. So much for doing journalistic homework. ;)


  19. 19
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (11:06 pm)

    A solar roof to generate a little electricity? I’ve got other ideas:

    – A Stirling engine (http://www.stirlingengine.com/Displacer-Anim.adp)

    – A hamster on a wheel

    – Wind turbine

    – Methane (eat your beans)


  20. 20
    Eclectic Dan

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (11:39 pm)

    Omegaman66 #13,
    Interesting point about having the solar offset the cost of gas vs. electric. That would be the perfect scenario to justify the solar panel. Call it the “SPRE” (Solar Pre-Range-Extender).

    Maybe with all the rumored volt options I can get a Volt10 with solar roof and maximize the invstment. :)


  21. 21
    Bill

     

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    Jul 6th, 2008 (11:48 pm)

    There seems to be a big resistance to the plug-in concept at Toyota. I had been looking for a conspiracy theory. Now they have suggested this I know they are just idiots!


  22. 22
    Paul

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:43 am)

    Will be interesting to see how well they hold up to hail damage.


  23. 23
    Texas

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:45 am)

    Solar on the surface (SOTS) is an excellent idea. We have discussed this deeply in the forums (please visit the links below for all you ever wanted know and more about it).

    Some of the calculations show that you can even get around 6 miles per day of electric range on a sunny summer day in Texas. However, that is not what makes SOTS so special. While it will give some people a little range extension (some people who live close to work and in very sunny areas like Arizona may never need to plug in or buy gas) the biggest advantage is for extra functions. Things like keeping the cabin cool, powering advanced functions like security systems, always on internet monitoring, owner alerts over the cell phone or Internet or keeping the batteries topped up over long periods of inactivity like when your car sitting in an airport parking lot. It is these extra functions that really get me excited about SOTS. As technology improves efficiencies will go up while costs will go down. You will then see SOTS go from a luxury option down to standard equipment (like power seats).

    continued…


  24. 24
    Texas

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:47 am)

    In the links below you will see that a solar Prius aftermarket option already exists. Check out the video. There is also a picture of a futuristic solar boat that will get you thinking. Beautiful. Anyway, SOTS is going to be a common option and the advantages will soon be clear. I’m definitely going to be checking out that plug-in solar Prius option.

    continued… This system is not letting me list the links to the forum. You can just search “SOTS” using the search tool in the forum section.


  25. 25
    Texas

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:48 am)

    “http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16&highlight=SOTS”
    “http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=141&highlight=SOTS”
    “http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17&highlight=SOTS”
    “http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=696&highlight=SOTS”
    “http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=496&highlight=SOTS”


  26. 26
    DonC

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:51 am)

    The Aptera will have a solar roof. One purpose is to keep the car cool when parked in the sun, as seems the case with the Prius. The second purpose is to move air to the back to the vehicle to reduce turbulence.

    I can understand the panels on the Aptera. For the Prius it seems like an expensive option aka additional revenue source for a car which is in high demand.


  27. 27
    Jeff M

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:07 am)

    When they say “next generation” Prius… which model year are they talking about? (and I assume it’s not the plug-in Prius)

    In any case, I’d save my money and not get that option…. I’d rather pay more for a custom paint job that reflects more sunlight that keeps the car cooler and hence puts less strain on the AC.

    I’m also not sure Eclectic Dan is right that a 200 watt panel would produce 1.6kwh by sitting in the sun for 8 hours… I’d assume the 200 watts is at high noon in the most direct sunlight… over 8 hours the angle of the sun is going to vary a bit I imagine?

    In any case, I’d be curious to see what the actual specs turn out to be, and the cost of the option.


  28. 28
    Gary

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:48 am)

    The sad part is that a lot of stupid people will be willing to spend a lot of money on something so stupid.

    Another marketing gimmick for the ignorant masses to fall for. As soon as some people hear the word “solar panel”, they will instantly think that the entire car is solar-powered, like a calculator. Then they will buy one before reading the fine print or doing the math on how much power it provides for the money spent.


  29. 29
    omegaman66

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (2:07 am)

    First let me say that I am not calling anyone stupid for getting a solar panel on their car. It is your car do what you want. Not everything has to pay far itself to be a good purchase.

    That said… cater to the market. If their is a market created buy stupid people wanting something stupid then give them the option.


  30. 30
    Ed M

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (2:16 am)

    Well if we want more solar power from the roof Chev can always make the roof bigger. In order to prevent that AC foul odor I run my AC 24/7, its never off, so what would run it at night or in bad weather ? For me roof panels would be a meaningless option, in fact, other than Brownie points from the environmental crowd I can’t see the value for anyone.


  31. 31
    steve

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (3:06 am)

    Not new.

    The Skoda Superb in europe had a solar panel on its roof to power the AC 4 years ago. And it already does 55 MPG. Although I have pushed mine to 69 MPG on a long run.

    And the Superb is a BIG car.


  32. 32
    Kevin

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (4:13 am)

    I don’t think this would be just a gimmick in Florida.


  33. 33
    TED in Fort Myers

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (4:59 am)

    Would love it in the Florida sun. My car bakes in the Florida sun 8 hours every day. I drive 22 miles to work and the payback would be there. Eight free miles day after day after day. A week in the airport parking lot car charging while I am out of town. Yes I want one. You guys really must think outside of the box.

    ARCH I read the link and left a comment. Ask them if old news is good news. TED


  34. 34
    jeff

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (5:04 am)

    I’d rather see a car that is more resistant to heat penetration, then a solar collector. I’d also like a “no waxing needed” car, just hose it off and your good to go. BTW I don’t like to crack the windows of an unattended car, why “temp” criminals. I’m thinking those that want solar panels also want hot and cold running water. ;-)


  35. 35
    RB

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (5:21 am)

    I think Toyota has a good idea. Generating just enough electricity to run the fan will make a substantial difference in the inside temperature when entering the car after it has been parked in the sun. Yes, people will like it, too, and enjoy saying that they have one.

    Also for Toyota, Prius demand is so strong the solar roof can be an extra cost option that virtually all the cars have, i.e., a way to make a few more dollars.


  36. 36
    Dick G.

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (5:23 am)

    In Wayland NY a 2000 watt solar system put out aprox. 2200 kWh/yr….add wind and you have +/- 4000 kWh/yr…..devide by 365 and you have 11 kWh/day…When I get my Volt I WILL be driving the first 40 miles every day totally from Solar and Wind Energy !!!!!


  37. 37
    Texas

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (5:41 am)

    #29 omegaman66 and 28# Gary, If you think your arguments against solar are so bright and well thought out why don’t you go to the forum links I gave and leave some of that brilliance in a post? Let’s go back and forth about it. I have used solar technology for over a decade and have considered SOTS carefully and still think it has value. I think your lack of imagination is holding you back from seeing the advantages of this technology. I look forward to the debate.


  38. 38
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (5:50 am)

    Look at the solar panel from strictly a marketing standpoint rather than a functional standpoint. If a solar panel helps sell the car (regardless of how useful it is function wise) then put a solar panel on the roof. The idea is to sell more cars.


  39. 39
    omegaman66

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (5:55 am)

    Like I said I am not against it. People just need to know what it will and will not do for them. I was responding to a guy that has a commute of only 18 miles. So just pointing out the solar wouldn’t be saving any gas in that situation. Headed to the forum.


  40. 40
    Joe OBrien

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (6:36 am)

    I still want a sunroof option no matter what. GM, if you do read this blog, please do not remove the sunroof option. I can plug in at home/work/ all over. I just want my freaking sunroof on my $40,000 volt.


  41. 41
    Statik

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (6:51 am)

    #27 Jeff M

    “When they say “next generation” Prius… which model year are they talking about? (and I assume it’s not the plug-in Prius)”

    This year will have just a “freshen up” for the fall (the model year 2009). Essentially same car…no clue why they are doing this with a six month back-up on the things, maybe in was in the works for a long time, or maybe the new production is coming online (capacity is ramping to 600,000 for 2009).

    The debut of the ‘next gen’ is at the Detroit Auto Show (look for the Volt to show off it’s new skin there too).

    Internally, the goal was to get it rolled out just three months later in April 2009, but all the pent-up demand has pushed it back to probably June 2009 (this would be classed as a 2010). The plug-in option is expected about a year later in the fall of 2010…I would assume this would be added to ‘model year 2011′


  42. 42
    Statik

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (7:03 am)

    Other news in the “I told you it was coming category”

    GM mulling thousands of (white collar) job cuts, sale of brands:

    http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/080707/gm_jobs.html

    Ford pulled the trigger on this move almost exactly one month ago. I referenced the knee-jerk by GM cuts would be coming in the same thread (Statik, post 16-June 5th, 2008)

    http://gm-volt.com/2008/06/05/moving-the-chevy-volt-to-production-status/

    /cookie please


  43. 43
    Statik

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (7:06 am)

    Couple interesting bullet points in that article I had never heard before:

    1.) Both moves are part of a broader re-evaluation of the company’s strategy and of its ability to meet an internal projection of returning to profitability in 2010, the people told the paper.

    2.)The board may also hear management’s latest thoughts on whether GM should trim the number of brands it offers in the United States, the people told the paper. ALL but the Cadillac and Chevrolet brands, which GM considers core to its business, are undergoing close scrutiny, some other people told the paper.

    3.) GM has put its Hummer brand up for sale to prospective buyers thought to include Mahindra & Mahindra (Bombay), but the SUV brand is expected to fetch far less than $1 billion in any sale


  44. 44
    cyclop

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (7:30 am)

    The WSJ has a front page story today that is headlined GM Weighs More Layoffs, Sale of Brands Worries Over Cash, Plunging Share Price Prompt Strategy Shift; Saturn Gets Scrutiny


  45. 45
    Dave G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (7:36 am)

    A 200-watt solar panel for your home roof costs around $1000. Now add conversion electronics, fans, wiring, etc.. Then remember that the car manufacturer and car dealer both need to make money on this option (otherwise they wouldn’t offer it).

    So the solar panel option from Toyota or GM that runs a fan to cool the car will probably cost $2000 to $3000.

    The panel offered by SEV:
    http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/products.shtml
    will be significantly more. They use mono-crystalline solar cells which are more efficient, but also more expensive. They also include a 3kw (I believe they mean 3KWh) battery. This system is a lot more complicated than running a fan. Given that this is an aftermarket add-on, I would be surprised if this system was less than $10,000. Probably a lot more.

    Also, I believe SEVs calculations are rather dubious. Solar panels only operate at max output when the sun is very strong, and the angle to the sun is just right. Angled home roof surfaces that point South are good for this. Curved car roofs that point straight up will be worse. In addition, many car parking lots have shade trees and buildings that block the sun.

    Due to clouds and the varying angle of the sun, most home roof solar systems get an average of 4.5 hours of usable sunlight. So to estimate your daily solar output, you take your max panel output and multiply by 4.5. Note that 4.5 hours is a national average. See the map here for your particular area:
    http://www.affordable-solar.com/gt-estimator.htm

    Again, this is for flat solar panels on angled home roof surfaces that point South. Curved car roofs that point straight up will be worse.


  46. 46
    Grant

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (7:43 am)

    I’ve put up a link before on a Prius already modded as a plug in with solar by both the DOE and some private firms, the consensus is you get roughly ten miles extra a day of range, as many have noticed here, a day.

    That means, roughly, that you could get your entire gas-free 40 miles back while your car is in the airport lot while you are on a trip. It means, for me, a free trip to the Chinese place and back with no impact on my electric bill or gas. Right now, it’s a half gallon of gas, though for obvious reasons I hope to fix that problem shortly.

    I’m not saying it’s necessarily cost effective, but it’s certainly not useless. And that’s assuming it’s just battery charging, you could get considerable benefit if you used the free solar power to keep the batteries at an optimum temperature when parked, or to run the sound systems and climate control while driving and not waste power on them.


  47. 47
    Joe

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (7:57 am)

    If the next generation Prius is truly getting solar panels, it is a big waste of money. The whole idea is not cost effective! I don’t believe they will do it,but if they do, that’s okay. It’ll just raise the cost of the Prius making it a bit easier for the Volt to compete.


  48. 48
    Arch

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (8:05 am)

    #18 Grizzly and #33 Ted

    Back in the 70s when some of us were working on a hybrid car the
    U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory told us it would NEVER work. I once gave a paper and the moderator said—-well lets see if we can have a paper that does not
    violate all the known laws of thermodynamics.


  49. 49
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (8:05 am)

    The Fisker Karma was the first to include a solar roof, now Toyota is going to

    copy

    copy

    copy

    it.


  50. 50
    Arch

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (8:13 am)

    Looks like some other people feel the same way we do.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/07/prius_solar_panel/

    Take Care
    Arch


  51. 51
    Statik

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (8:27 am)

    Autoblog green putting the new “ultra light” i-Miev cars from the mini-site through the paces.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/photos/i-miev-in-paper/903151/

    Twelve earth shattering photos, a must see, lol.


  52. 52
    Gordon Green

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (8:35 am)

    #38 Rashiid Amul

    I agree, from a marketing point of view, the solar panels roof option makes sense. It’s a Green symbol, with little practical value, but great for marketing.

    The problem is that many naive people will not realize its just providing a tiny amount of power to keep cars parked in the sun a bit cooler.


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    RB

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:04 am)

    #52 Gordon Green —- though if the solar roof could make the inside temperature (when coming back to the car) a little more pleasant on very hot or very cold days, the solar roof would be worth it’s cost as a creature comfort.


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    RB

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:08 am)

    Statik 51 It’s really neat that Mitsu gives out the patterns for these paper models.


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:16 am)

    I’m impressed that Mitsubishi has trials of the iMieV underway with power companies regarding fast charging. I hope GM has something similar going on. Quick charge meets a real need.


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    Brad G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:31 am)

    With the cost of the Volt estimated at 40K, GM needs to make the solar roof an option to keep the costs down. In Dallas we are use to “hot” cars when parked outside in 100 degree summers. You just roll down the windows and turn on the AC at start-up and drive until the radiant heat leaves the car. It is not worth even an extra $1000 for solar roofs to keep the car cool, only to be destroyed in the first hail storm.


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    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:44 am)

    I’m not sure if GM will do solar panels for Volt 1.0 but it would sure make the e-Flex platform even more FLEXible in where it gets its electricity. Maybe they will design the roof and prewire it so you can add solar panels as an option. More likely, you’d have to make a special order for a solar paneled Volt and get them installed at the factory.

    I read somewhere where a GM executive mentioned that there will be a lot of different flavors of the Volt, so maybe they’ll really do this just like Toyota is. A Chevy Volt SE (solar edition)? As long as the requirements for solar panels don’t affect the looks of the exterior too much, that’s fine with me. I think the exterior design of Volt 1.0 is going to be very important. I want the average person to get a good first impression of GM’s first mass produced electric car. Make the exterior and interior look good and make sure the Volt is going to get good ratings by the car magazines and Volt 1.0 ought to be a success.


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    Tim

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:45 am)

    C\Net News:
    Solar car vents keep you cool
    June 5, 2006 11:00 AM PDT
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-6079960-7.html


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    Brad G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:51 am)

    #58 Tim

    Save your money. I had a friend who bought one of these two summers ago. There wasn’t a noticable difference in interior temperture and the little fan only lasted three months before it burned up. Just leave your windows cracked open.


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    MDDave

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (10:03 am)

    Why would the solar cells be used specifically for the air conditioning? Why not just use them to charge the battery and then use the battery to cool the car if that’s what is needed? Charging the battery means that you can use the energy generated for other things if the AC is not needed (e.g., during cool weather in the fall, winter, and spring).


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (10:07 am)

    I knew someone that had a car (an Acura, I think) that had a solar-powered fan that kept the car a little cooler when it was parked out in the sun. That was 10 years ago and the car was few years old at the time. If this is what they are talking about, it doesn’t seem that revolutionary to me.


  62. 62
    Jackson

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (10:15 am)

    Copper Indium Gallium Selenide:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_indium_gallium_selenide

    Honda spins off CIGS company (last year):
    http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/12/honda_joins_cig.html

    IBM takes a step (last month):
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-9966992-54.html

    The news here is the quantity and cost improvement which will take place in the next couple of years, coinciding with both the new-gen Prius and the Volt.

    It may cost less to put this on a car than many of you are assuming. I had been thinking that actual airconditioning powered by PV cells was something for the more remote future. Things may be moving faster than any of us appreciate.

    Keep in mind that the cells need not be made on glass (Honda’s are printed on metal), and there’s nothing in principle which would keep a manufacturer from making skins exactly the shape to fit over all body panels (not just the roof). Even though you’d never illuminate all of them at once, the gain in area and angle over more of the day could make a very big difference in available power.


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (10:22 am)

    If you super-insulate a metal box with windows, and set it out in the sun, what you’ll have is a Solar Oven. Anything which prevents heat from entering also prevents it from leaving.

    I strongly suspect that if cooling through super-insulation could be practically achieved, it would already have been done.

    Photochromic glass, I thought, was transluscent until a current was run through it:

    a) not necessarily opaque, and not necessarily to infrared light,
    b) a safety hazard if current to the window is interrupted while driving.


  64. 64
    Gary

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (10:26 am)

    Re: Posts 42 & 43:

    Here goes Statik again, adding static to our conversation, out of the blue, trying to change the subject to doom and gloom. Once again. Ugh.


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    noel park

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (10:34 am)

    #42 Statik:

    Can anyone say GMC??? Redundancy defined, IMHO.

    #58 Tim:

    Thanks for the cool link (no pun intended). I knew I had seen that somewhere. BTW, you guys are really on a roll with all of the brilliant links. Arch for a start. And Statik with the paper Mievs. Don’t laugh, they’re coming

    #61 MDDave:

    I remember that too. Mazda too, if memory serves. Thanks.

    Sign me up for a solar panel roof. It’s worth it just to look cool (NPI). Hey man, people shell out $90K for a whoop de doo Benz just to look cool, so what’s $2K for a fashion statement solar roof?


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    hermant

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (10:44 am)

    I love it! It’s been pointed out that, with today’s technology or even with any foreseeable improvements to the technology, there’a absolutely no logical value in putting solar cells on the roof of any car, let alone a Prius. You point out that the extra weight will actually hurt the cars electric range. You point out that the solar cell manufacturing process puts carbon in the air and toxins in the ground. You point out that it will cost a ridiculously large amount of money to NOT accomplish anything meaningfull.

    Then, after all of the facts are layed out on the table, some still say that they would want the option. Just more proof that a significant portion of the buying public is not only completely ignorant, they are comfortable with their ignorance! Maybe Toyota should go so far as to create a marketing campaign aimed at just this demographic. How does, “Cars For Stupid People” sound? Or maybe, “Cars For People Who Want To Just Feel Right About Saving The Earth”. Why don’t they just be honest and go with, “Feel Good Cars That Maximize Our Profits”?


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    George K

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:05 am)

    41 Static
    “The plug-in option is expected about a year later in the fall of 2010…”

    Good info, except I want to expand on an important point…

    Yes, Toyota is coming out with the PHEV Prius in 2010. However, so far, it’s only specified that they will be for fleets, and not to the public.


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:10 am)

    This is probably the wrong place to ask this but I don’t know where else to get an answer. Perhaps some of you guys can answer one question for me.

    “I understand that VALERO (formerly Shamrock) only uses domestic oil. Since we are not selling domestic oil for $140 a barrel – shouldn’t Valero gas be about 1/2 the price of others?”


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    George K

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:14 am)

    #58 Tim,

    I was one of the suckers who bought one. As #59 Brad G said, “save your money”.

    It didn’t fit well in the window, and provided a very slow fan. My son-in-law saw it on TV and wanted one, so I gave him mine as a joke.

    Yes, he did laugh.

    But, it was only about 6″ square and pointed at the horizon.


  70. 70
    Ash

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:22 am)

    What happens to the solar power generated when the AC is not in use?


  71. 71
    The Grump

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:26 am)

    Roof solar panels? So what?

    You might run an LCD display off of the panels, but not much else. OK, go ahead and buy it for the “cool” factor, but don’t expect miracles. You won’t get an extra mile out of those solar panels.


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    RB

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:33 am)

    #68 wwskinn3 It seems to me that most all oil is sold at the world price, no matter where it is produced. There are of course some variations as to grade (for example low and high sulpher), and some countries subsidize the retail price to their own nationals. I can’t think of any reason we should expect that US (or Mexican or Canadian) oil will be cheaper in the US than oil from other places, except possibly for a little difference in transportation costs.


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    George K

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:34 am)

    #23 Texas
    Solar on the surface (SOTS) is an excellent idea

    I’d like to see it as an option. If it works as you say, I’d like to propose a switch (cheap), to either charge the battery, or turn on the inside fan. Each is a great idea, but should not be mutually exclusive!

    Further, I believe solar panels would make a great Green statement, both for GM, and the car owner (lets not kid ourselves. That statement has sold a lot of Prius’s). The last quote I got for an after-market Prius addition was about $2 grand. If GM can bring that down, I believe they’d have a winner!


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    Texas

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:47 am)

    #66 hermant and #71 The Grump, You are both wrong. hermant, I’ll go head-to-head with you any day about this subject. Just click on the links I provided and you can share your thoughts. You’re not afraid to be proven wrong, are you?


  75. 75
    N Riley

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (11:55 am)

    This is off the subject to an extent, but has been talked about on other posts. Robert Rubin has an article well worth reading about the “Hydrogen Hoax”. For those of you who still advocate hydrogen as our new found fuel savior, please take the time to read the article.

    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-hydrogen-hoax

    As far as solar panels on the roof of the Volt or the Prius, I am not for or against it. If there is a benefit, then do it. As with many other things, there is not always an immediate benefit, but with future development comes benefits. I say let it be an option that some people would opt for and pay for.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:03 pm)

    Arch,
    Thanks(?) for the link to the ill-informed article. Do they get PAID to write that? (lol). I think the author is actually Statik ghost writing for Toyota (g).
    Be well,
    Tag


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    N Riley

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:08 pm)

    Sorry, but that should have been Robert Zubrin has written an article titled “The Hydrogen Hoax”. See my post #75..


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    Tim

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:10 pm)

    You don’t always get what you pay for, but you always pay for what you get.

    I’ve been thinking about this and solar panels ON the car may simply be an expensive (to the buyer) marketing gimmick. Natural convection should eliminate most cabin heat while parked.


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    N Riley

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:10 pm)

    Hey, leave Statik alone, you guys. He provides some very useful information, most of the time. Other times he deserves to be off center a little, just like the rest of us. You kept plugging away, Statik, my man.


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    N Riley

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:13 pm)

    Now, if we could find some way of using all of this stored heat inside our vehicles, we would have no use for solar panels to reduce heat. What ways could we use the heat built up inside our vehicles? Is there a reasonable use for it?


  81. 81
    Scott

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:20 pm)

    I don’t think this is as stupid as it seems at first.

    I have a Camry Hybrid (I couldn’t wait for the Volt, though I will probably trade-in for it), and my mileage drops noticeably when I run the air conditioning–especially for short trips. My guess is that the real purpose of this is to allow Toyota to claim even higher gas mileage: probably about 1-2 mpgs highway, and as much as 4-5 city.


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    Canuck

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:34 pm)

    I finally read all the comments. Surprise that so many assume one way or the other while I see no actual numbers.

    Cost:
    120W panel, CDN$1100
    As Prius already has all the charging electronics present, incremental cost for bit of wiring is minimal, so ignored.
    So removing the retail markup and assuming continued improvements, this panel may cost $500 or thereabouts. Thus total cost to a buyer might be $1000 for solar panel option alone.

    Benefit:

    I am in Canada, so using conservative estimate I would say average of 1/4 of days have solid sun, or 91 days. Also as others pointed out charging efficiency is way below 100%, so the actual stored energy in battery would be 50% only:

    120W x 50% = 60W effective
    parked at work: 8hrs x 60W = 500 Wh, about 3 “free” miles
    91 sunny days x 500 Wh = 45.5 kWh = about 227 miles

    As I keep my cars for at least 10 years = 2270 miles
    Average fuel cost for 10+ years could be around $10/gal
    Assuming this Prius’ engine alone has about 40 mpg efficiency:

    2270 miles / 40 mpg = 56.75 gal * $10 = $567.50

    Of course, I could keep driving it for 20 years, which would double this figure. Therefore, given enough time this solar panel option could pay for itself. However, I assume that all panel collected energy goes into the main battery so that it can be used for HVAC as well as electric motor.

    Therefore if this solar panel option is not too expensive then it may be economical. The key aspect is that panel’s energy collection is maximized by always being enabled and collecting electrictiy into the battery.


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:35 pm)

    Initially I would be surprised if more than about 10% of Prius purchasers would opt for solar panels. Probably a good bit less than 10%. But, after saying that, as improvements are made, this figure would certainly grow, if mileage increases were a result of them. Cost will come down and improvements will occur. Just stands to reason. But, we will have to wait and see.

    All I can say is: Go GM and Go, Go, Go Volt.


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:39 pm)

    I do like the idea someone else put forth about a switch to let the solar panel trickle charge the battery or run an exhaust type fan to reduce interior heat build up. That would give the owner some flexibility in its use. Seems like a reasonable option.


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    Yeah Volt

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:42 pm)

    #75 N Riley

    Great article on the “Hydrogen Hoax”. I know it’s off the topic of this thread and god knows we don’t want to beat the hydrogen horse to death again, but Robert Zubrin’s last paragraph on alternative fuel sources was pretty powerful and worthy of mention if you don’t have time to read the whole article:

    “By simply exposing the oil cartel to competition from such alternative fuel sources (not hydrogen), we could impose a powerful constraint on its ability to run up prices. Combined with an unrelenting tariff policy favoring alcohol over imported oil, we could destroy OPEC completely, and effectively redirect over $600 billion per year that is now going to the treasury of terrorism to the global agricultural and mining sectors. Instead of sending our money to the Islamists to spread fanatical ideology, we could give our business to the world’s farmers, coal miners, and other people who actually work for a living. Instead of selling off blocks of stock in Western media companies to Saudi princes, we could be selling tractors to Honduras. Instead of funding terrorism, we could be using our energy dollars to finance world development. That’s what a serious energy policy would look like.”


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:45 pm)

    There is no valid economic case for any hybrid, including the Volt (for the forseeable future). Why shout down solar arrays on the basis of costs?

    But there’s a more basic issue we’re losing sight of, I think. Once the propulsion method shifts away from internal combustion / mechanical, a whole new world opens up: it may become feasible to do things that “help.”

    Imagine the method which could “help” a conventional car down the road (without resorting to an auxiliary electric system, like today’s hybrids). One idea I can recall would’ve used the engine’s waste heat to power a closed-loop rankine cycle based on a refrigerant, to give a little extra mechanical push. While this idea proved possible, the extra weight and complexity pushed the limits of feasibility (though I think there are still groups persuing it).

    Now imagine methods which could “help” a plug-in electric:

    Solar cells (too expensive / inefficient now, perhaps; but not much heavier or more complex);

    Using waste heat from the engine, when it does run, with thermoelectric cells applied to the radiator (possible but expensive in the short term; though again; not much heavier or more complex);

    Something “out there,” or unexpected in the future; such as a milk-jug-sized disposable sugar-to-electricity fuel cell ‘powered’ by bacteria; which wouldn’t easily scale up to be “the whole show” for a future car, but might contribute enough to help; again, with minimal engineering.

    The flexibility of electric drive doesn’t stop at the wall outlet, it can apply to the car itself. “Every little bit” could help. Though admittedly, not for awhile.


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    ed noble

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:47 pm)

    GM needs to use a panel that will not die with shade…
    Kyocera will…I have killed one on display with a meter, just by the shade of my hand…On my Motorhome I use uni-solar panels. The only area affected and will shut down are the cells in the shade. The rest of the panel still works…GM needs to use this type of panel…Park in the shade with the Kyocera panel and it will be useless
    BTW… I have read that there is a new solar panel that is stackable…How many you can stack and still work I don`t know..


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    Jul 7th, 2008 (12:59 pm)

    Obviously there are many opinions regarding solar on the surface. I really don’t care as long as it’s an option and not standard. As long as I have a choice as to whether I want to pay for it or not, why should anyone even care?


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    Dave G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:03 pm)

    #56 Brad G says: “It is not worth even an extra $1000 for solar roofs to keep the car cool, only to be destroyed in the first hail storm.”
    ————————————————————————————–
    I estimate the cost for the solar roof option at $2000 to $3000. See my post #45 for details.

    So yes, I agree. The solar roof option won’t be worth it for most people. But if I had money to burn, it would be really nice to come back to a parked car that doesn’t feel like an oven. As a high-end luxury option, it does make some sense.


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    Canuck

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:13 pm)

    “A 200-watt solar panel for your home roof costs around $1000. Now add conversion electronics, fans, wiring, etc.. Then remember that the car manufacturer and car dealer both need to make money on this option (otherwise they wouldn’t offer it).

    So the solar panel option from Toyota or GM that runs a fan to cool the car will probably cost $2000 to $3000.”

    A panel just to run a fan is clearly too expensive. Presumably it would charge the main battery. Otherwise I do agree it is a useless waste of effort.

    However, you don’t need to add conversion electronics, fans, wiring to the cost. The main battery already has a charge controller. You would only need to convert panel output to a higher volatage and minimal wiring (very low current). So additional costs besides the panel are minimal.


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    Dave G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:22 pm)

    #60 MDDave asks: “Why would the solar cells be used specifically for the air conditioning? Why not just use them to charge the battery and then …”
    ————————————————————————————–
    There are 2 reasons:
    1) The solar panel won’t prduce enough electricity to make it worth while.
    2) GM would need to add special battery charger that converts the 10-15 volts DC solar panel output to over 300 volts DC for the battery pack. The cost of this would not be trivial, and there would be efficiency losses.

    By contrast, running a fan off 10-15 volts DC to keep the car cool is fairly easy and cheap.


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    JonP

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:38 pm)

  93. 93
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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:39 pm)

    as far as the solar roof option,

    it’s an option not standard.
    some people have disposable income, some don’t.


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    Canuck

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (1:59 pm)

    DaveG,

    I assume that any larger battery pack (like in Prius) already has individual cell control electronics to monitor individual cell SOC and other functions. Therefore, how difficult/expensive would it be to have solar panel charge individual cells or modules (not sure now, they may be packaging several cells into a module and treating them as a single unit)????? Then voltage difference would be much smaller and panel could provide a useful function of balancing the pack by charging weakest cells/modules first.

    Frankly I don’t know enough about the Prius pack internals, so …
    *IF* individual cells/modules can be accessed then it could work. On the other hand conversion from 10-20V from panel to 300V+ pack might be rather expensive/difficult, plus more conversion losses,….


  95. 95
    CDAVIS

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (2:02 pm)

    _____________________________________________________
    YES to PV Roof as Standard VOLT feature.

    Reasons:

    1) As a standard feature, the added cost per car will be low especially if working with a PV vendor such as http://www.nanosolar.com. From what I know about what some aggressive PV vendors are doing, GM should be able to secure the PV elements for under $250/car if purchased in high volume compared to over $500/car if low volume (optional feature) purchased. The added factory labor install cost should be much lower than installing a sunroof.

    2) Each version 1 VOLT sold will be a marketing billboard for GM. The PV roof will make a great talking point that will inspire others to purchase a VOLT. Just the marketing benefit is worth the added cost for GM.

    3) As mentioned by a previous poster, the PV roof is in itself keeping with the philosophy of aggressively pursuing energy independence (or “greening” for you greeners); the philosophy of “every bit counts”.

    4) The PV roof will help the version 1 VOLT maintain its value because PV roofs will very soon become a standard feature included in all EV centric vehicles.

    5) Some other EV car makers sucha as APTERA will be making the PV roof a standard feature in their version 1 EV release.

    6) Lastly, I today had to get into my 120+F car interior after a lunch meeting. I thought to myself about how cool, literally, it would be if I had my VOLT with a PV roof keeping the car cool while parked. It sure would be nice to have this feature without having to pay for it as a $$$ optional upgrade.

    ____________________________________________________


  96. 96
    Hoang

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (2:40 pm)

    There is a fine line between a good direction and a right direction. Unfortunately, the right direction is not always a good direction. A good example of this is GM EV1.

    Volt is a right direction. Solar Prius is a good dircetion.

    Bottom line, good direction always works. Right dircetion, time will tell it is good or not.

    My 2 cents


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    DonC

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (2:43 pm)

    Canuck@#82

    With installed panels I get less than the output you’re projecting for a 120W panel (the theoretical output is 5702 kWh/yr for a 3.74 KWh system) but: (1) I’m in SoCal not Canada; (2) the panel is on a south facing roof (170 degrees); (3) the panel is on a roof at a 22 degree pitch; and (4) the panel is never shaded.

    Your car roof is never going to have such optimal conditions. Even considering my output is in AC watts, I’m thinking the output you’d get might be around half what you’re projecting? (I’m using middle of the road panels roughly equivalent to the Kyocera panels). If they tried to make the panels more than marginally effecient the costs would go up in a hurry.

    Something to think about when determining if the solor panel would significantly help you with mpg.


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    Dave G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (2:58 pm)

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    Dave G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (2:59 pm)

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    Dave G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (3:05 pm)

    #75 N Riley

    Another link on hydrogen
    logicalscience.blogspot.com/2006/11/hydrogen-economy-no-backing-in-physics.html
    (due to moderation, you’ll have to copy this into your address bar)


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    Dave G

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (3:06 pm)

    #75 N Riley

    Yet another link on hydrogen
    http://www.efcf.com/reports/E17.pdf


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    Canuck

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (3:22 pm)

    Ok, here is an actual conversion project:

    http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/APRS-SPHEV.html

    reading it now ….

    DonC,
    Indeed I realize that rated power (such as 120W panel) is never/rarely achieved and you generally get much less. Still, our cars spend countless hours sitting in the sun.

    One thing is for sure. The panel option cannot be expensive and it must be more than just a powerful fan keeping a car cool while parked.


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    Statik

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (3:26 pm)

    #98-101 Dave G

    Love those hydrogen links…keep the coming.

    #64 Gary

    “Re: Posts 42 & 43:Here goes Statik again, adding static to our conversation, out of the blue, trying to change the subject to doom and gloom. Once again. Ugh.”

    Yarrrr! I see what ye did thar with mah name! Right tricky ye are matey!


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    DonC

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (3:52 pm)

    Canuck@#102

    That’s for the cite. Interesting read.

    One point which the article makes — if somewhat obliquely — is that adding extra mileage to an already high mpg vehicle is rarely cost effective. As the mpg goes up you really have to do something special to create a savings, or you have to spend very little on the improvement.

    For example, if the goal is to save 100% of what you spend on gas, and you start with a 10 mpg vehicle, you get 50% of the savings when you go to 20 mpg. That’s great. But then going to 40 mpg only gets you 25% of the savings, going to 80 gets you 12.5%, and so on. The dollar savings keep getting smaller and smaller for every 1 mpg increase because your base costs keep dropping.

    Once you hit 50 mpg it’s difficult to get much bang for a buck. At that point, even if gas is $5/gallon, you’re only spending $100/per month. Adding something that gets you to 55 mpg will save you less than $10/month. Ignoring the time value of money, and assuming you never have to fix it, an additon, in order to break even, would have to cost $1200 or less if the car has a ten year life.


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    TL

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (6:25 pm)

    200w over 6 hours time is going to recharge the battery with 1.2kwh of energy. if 8kwh is able to propel the car for 40 miles then
    1.2 / 8 x 40 should give you 6 miles on FREE power. Of course that’s assuming a summer day in a sunny state.


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    The Grump

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:05 pm)

    #74 Texas – OK, I was wrong, you may just get an extra mile or so out of the solar panels. Big deal.

    I’d rather spend my money on a Hymotion extended range Volt battery. After the Volt rolls out, third party companies like Hymotion will modify the heck out of the Volt. You can feel all green and fuzzy about yourself and your extra mile – I’ll take the 60 mile Hymotion battery pack for about the same price, thank you.

    It’s all about how much bang you get for the buck.


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    The Grump

     

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    Jul 7th, 2008 (9:28 pm)

    Oh no. There goes Dave again, smoking right next to those hydrogen links. We told him, one of these days… (BOOM).

    Damn. Hey Statik, call the fire department, wouldya? I’ll get a mop and clean up what’s left of him. Did he ever listen to me? Noooooo…… (Wanders off in search of a mop and bucket)


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    hermant

     

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    Jul 8th, 2008 (6:52 am)

    PV solar panels are expensive, real expensive. And the lighter you try to make them, the more expensive they get. Cost effective units can weigh one pound for every watt of power that they produce. Spend a lot more and you still only get about five watts per pound and that’s just the cell’s weight itself. Mounting, wiring, voltage regulation and so on will add even more weight. So lets say that you only need five hundred watts to be useful and you are willing to pay whatever it costs to get it. How well will a Chevy Volt or Toyota Prius handle in a corner with an extra hundred pounds or so up on top of the roof? And how much will this constant excess weight reduce its all electric range? Weight isn’t a factor if you just put the solar cells on the roof of the car port instead. Why would you choose the more expensive option and commit to worse handling and range also?


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    hermant

     

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    Jul 8th, 2008 (7:05 am)

    This is a quote from NBC news…

    Mazda Motor Corp briefly offered a solar panel option on two car models, the Eunos 800 and Sentia, in the early 1990s to ventilate the sedans while parked on hot summer days. The expensive option was unpopular and discontinued after a few years.

    Kentaro Endo, a director at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry who specializes in renewable energy, said the application of solar energy was severely limited in vehicles.

    “Even if you laid solar panels out on the entire roof of a house, you only generate enough energy to run two hair dryers,” he said.

    “It’s an interesting idea, but it would be very difficult to power a whole car, even with technological advances.”

    …to summarize; not a new idea, not a good idea!


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    Jackson

     

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    Jul 8th, 2008 (9:26 am)

    Late to the fray with a supporting link:

    http://www.technologynewsdaily.com/node/9997

    This is not for Solar, it’s for Thermoelectric generators. A third of the heat from an internal combustion engine goes down the tailpipe. The difference in temp between exhaust gas and cooling system water can be over 100 degrees Celcius; which ought to be fine for solid-state TG cells to provide an extra kilowatt.

    A few watts here, a few watts there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real power!


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    dagwood55

     

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    Jul 8th, 2008 (9:56 am)

    #109, Hermant,

    My roof (not a particularly big house) has enough area to support 5KW more more… enough to run up to 5 hairdryers. At once. And, since we use our one hairdryer for less than 10 minutes a day, that’s 5KW, continuous for several hours, going into other things.

    5KW could, in two hours, recharge a Volt. If you look at the EVNut.com site, you will find dozens of Rav4-EV owners who have SPV installed on their homes.

    #110, Jackson,

    I think BMW is actively pursuing that.


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    N Riley

     

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    Jul 8th, 2008 (11:48 am)

    Dave G

    Thanks for the links. All worked except the copied one. Good information supporting the hydrogen hoax theory.

    Go GM and Go Volt;.


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    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Jul 8th, 2008 (12:09 pm)

    The Volt has a pricing problem.
    An expensive solar array option on the roof is not going to help GM market this thing – only a few ecological ideologues (eco-dogues) will go for it.

    It’s an option that will sell like pink Cadillacs.

    When I was an undergraduate in the 1970s they were talking about mass production and increased efficiency of solar cells; they’re still talking.
    Anyhow, the new batteries do promise to make solar cells more viable since we may finally have a good way to capture the energy for when it’s needed.


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    Jason The Saj

     

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    Jul 9th, 2008 (11:09 am)

    Not a gimmick, it’s an idea I’ve argued for, for years…

    You leave work and get into your car. It’s now like 120 degrees inside. So you roll down the windows and blast the air conditioning until the vehicle is cool.

    Versus…

    You walk out and a solar panel has been running a small blower fan to blow out the super-heated air. Or a larger unit has continuously run the air conditioner.

    Mind you, I just had a recent use of this sort of thing. Driving cross country in my Prius. We’d take a couple one to three hour naps. However, it was hot! So we’d leave the Prius running with the air conditioning for 2-3 hours.

    Guess what, the Prius kept the car interior cool. Periodically activating the air conditioner. And occaisionally it would turn on the engine to re-charge. This is not something I could have done in an normal car. I’d have had to have the engine running (using up lots of gas and emitting lots of CO2) the entire time in order to run the air conditioning. Or I’d have turned it off and sweated like a pig.

    So I see the potential for such a concept as quite real. Albeit, not fully realized yet by most proponents and opponents alike.

    - The Saj


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    jackkeats

     

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    Jul 13th, 2008 (5:33 pm)

    Say, can I get a pedal option on a Prius? I can use it during rush hour traffic jams to
    1: excercise,
    2: charge the battery,
    3: power my AC, radio, wireless internet device/laptop, run the fridge (for that cold Avion),
    4:charge my cell phone, or
    5: any thing else I can think of with up to an extra 100 watts.
    Comon guys, it’s greeeenn…


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    Tagamet

     

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    Jul 13th, 2008 (7:10 pm)

    Jackkeats.
    “Say, can I get a pedal option on a Prius? I can use it during rush hour traffic jams to
    1: excercise,
    2: charge the battery,
    3: power my AC, radio, wireless internet device/laptop, run the fridge (for that cold Avion),
    4:charge my cell phone, or
    5: any thing else I can think of with up to an extra 100 watts.
    Comon guys, it’s greeeenn…”

    Sounds like a little ECST could be an option (g).
    Be well,
    Tag
    PS ECS=Electro-convulsive Shock Treatment.


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    JDinFL

     

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    Aug 4th, 2008 (10:51 pm)

    Why only solar panels on the roof? Why not on the trunk and hood also? Capture electricity when one applies the brakes. And, if I live in Florida and work 10-12 or longer hour days, why can’t my car recharge in the parking lot all day? It doesn’t even have to be a full charge. If a 12 or 13 hour charge from panels only gives me 10 miles, then maybe I plug in once a week instead of every night. Maybe extra panels that fit inside the back and front windows to block the Sun and add extra to the charge? I can use these to keep the heat out of the car and remove them to drive home. If a piece of cardboard works, why not get some juice out of one?

    All of the above beat using coal or gas to generate electricity.


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    AMaki

     

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    May 11th, 2009 (8:04 am)

    I think it’s a great idea. Look, you can guess at a cost based on the _retail_ cost of home rooftop panels, plus markup, but that doesn’t make sense, Toyota’s not going to pay retail for the panels. You can say that they won’t add much to the mileage, but they could add something, especially if you’re like me and run/charge iPods, cell phones, air conditioning etc in the car.
    Sure you can poo poo it as a “green bling” status symbol, but you’re going to have to get over yourself on that one; if it makes sense it makes sense. If it saves gas, it saves gas, and even if it doesn’t work out to save money in the long run (I said IF, we haven’t seen any numbers, and who knows what gas prices will do) if you have the money, it still makes sense politically and environmentally to use less gas.