Thursday, August 30, 2012

Solar Power Shines In Electric Car Industry

The electric vehicle (EV) market is set for take-off, but unless renewable energy is used in the charging systems or within the vehicle design, owners are still using fossil fuels for transportation.
Electric car being charged from solar panels designed to resemble a tree.

Photovoltaics (PV) are poised to play a vital role in the transport sector. Not only is PV being used to power EVs but some companies now produce PV modules that can be retrofitted to hybrid EVs such as the Toyota Prius to extend their range and economy. An example is Solar Electric Vehicles, which was founded in 2005 with the aim of enhancing the performance of HEVs through the use of solar energy. The roof-mounted modules on a Toyota Highlander hybrid are based on mono-crystalline PV cells that are used in conjunction with an additional battery pack. The unit designed for the Prius generates 215 Watts and provides this vehicle with up to 30 miles per day in the battery solar mode. It also yields improved fuel economy of between 34 and 60%, depending on driving habits, speed, and road conditions. An interesting factory-fitted option on the Prius is solar-powered air conditioning. A solar panel is fitted in the optional glass sunroof and is used to power a fan to keep the vehicle ventilated. The air conditioning can be switched on remotely using the key fob, cooling the car for up to three minutes before you enter.


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