This will not just be a Prius with a solar panel in order to power the AC, according to the Nikkei. Toyota's goal is to design a completely solar-powered car, with a twist. In addition to solar panel on the car, there is also a set of solar panels for the home. The home based panels collect energy, and transfer it upon plugging the electric vehicle into the home. In the future, Toyota will want to produce a completely electric vehicle that relies solely on the solar panel mounted on the car.
The futuristic vehicle is promising to take Toyota and bring them to the forefront of automobiles being offered as ecological personal vehicles, but it will be a few years off before being available for purchase. In the interim, the plan to utilize the home as a secondary source of electricity via solar panels enables the company to use current technologies to make their vehicle operate under green power.
This step towards green vehicles is all part of the plan to boost profits in today's economic climate. This comes after recent news that Toyota has run into their first operating loss in over 70 years. The global economy is to blame to the reduction of sales which has many automakers in a pinch. Combined with the ever growing yen in the Japanese market, and you have the makings of a grave financial need. Despite all of that however, Toyota is still the leader in green technologies and has vowed not to cut back on R&D research.
The solar panel technology currently considered is already in use by the main manufacturing plants of the Lexus and Camry vehicles in order to offset their energy costs during manufacture by generating their own electricity. The solar panels roughly cover an area of 60 tennis courts and could power 500 homes. That is equivalent to a CO2 reduction of 740 tons every year. Toyota will also stand to gain when their partner Panasonic takes over Sanyo Electric, an industry leader in solar technology.
So this move by Toyota looks to really push the car giant ahead of the pack. With demonstrations of the potential for the solar panel technology, it is clear that once Toyota incorporates the new technology into their vehicles, there will be a steady decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. The performance will improve with the acquisition of the Sanyo Company by Panasonic. One should keep their eyes peeled for the new Toyota solar cars, which for know will get part of their energy from panels on you home's roof.
Will this technology be what pulls Toyota from financial trouble?
They already have demonstrated the capabilities of the systems that are using now. Combined with the new technology they hope to get, and the one, two delivery system of the current release plans, and they are poised to really take off. One can hope that other car manufactures will take Toyota's lead and develop their own iterations of green cars.
You might not think the current recession will have much effect on the production and sales of green hybrid electric cars, at least not any more than it affects sales of cars in general. Car sales are at a low right now with manufacturers like GM closing plants for a month to save money, forcing employees to take unpaid vacation time and implementing other drastic measures to try to cut costs without having to lay off more employees.
This affects car production overall, but is especially dangerous for the emerging popularity of green hybrid electric cars that are currently in production and scheduled to be released soon like the Chevrolet Volt. When car companies were lining up and begging Congress for a multi-billion dollar bailout to avoid bankruptcy, rumors swirled about Volt production coming to a halt thanks to the poor economy and car makers' troubles.
Considering that part of the condition for a Congress bailout was a plan put in place to show how the car makers planned to revamp their business plans to make themselves profitable again while providing quality products, one might think that the fast release of green hybrid electric cars that are good for the environment and consumers' pocket books might be part of those improvement plans. Since future product plans are such an important condition of the bailout, it seemed unlikely that they would abandon the project.
Now that the bailout has been approved and the government is loaning auto makers billions of dollars to be repaid at approximately 5% interest, it turns out that the green hybrid electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, has not been abandoned after all, but the talk of it being put on hold or halted was just a rumor. The plant where the drive train would have been manufactured is no longer going to be the plant to do so, but that task will fall to a different plant rather than being abandoned altogether. The green hybrid electric cars made by Chevrolet are still scheduled to hit the roads in the United States in late 2010, just as the company had planned before.
The Toyota Prius is an imported car, but there were plans to build a plant in Mississippi for American manufacture of the Prius. The current economy has put those plans on hold because Toyota is struggling with poor sales, like all car manufacturers. And Prius sales have dropped dramatically, probably due to the plunging price of gas. A green hybrid electric car seems less important when gas is under $2 a gallon, as opposed to how important it seemed when the national average price of gas was close to $5 a gallon. The plant will still be built, but plans to manufacture the Prius there have simply been postponed.
Like everything else, consumer interesting in green technology comes in waves that seem to follow the economy more than anything else. Recessions don't last forever, and the price of gas will rise again prompting renewed public interest in green hybrid electric cars.
As with many of the vehicles released by Toyota, the Prius has truly become the bearer of standards within its segment. While many automakers still have not developed a green hybrid electric car, Toyota is already working on its second generation version of the Prius. This unique four door hybrid electric car has become an absolute hit with many consumers around the country because it offers excellent fuel economy in conjunction with driving and acceleration characteristics that are relatively uncompromised, and a price that is considered to be reasonable when you look at everything that this car can offer you.
The Toyota Prius, which derives its name from Latin for "to go before" exists as what is essentially a partial solution to the issue of tailpipe emissions that automobiles create. The Prius, along with many other hybrid cars, has a special power train that is designed to combine gasoline powered internal combustion engine capabilities with an electrical motor. This power train, along with numerous other advanced features, allows for the Toyota Prius to deliver a much higher fuel economy capability along with lower emissions when compared to other regular cars.
Due to its popularity as well as its positive sales history, the original hybrid car from Toyota has become a strong candidate for any shopper who is interested in buying a hybrid electric car. So far, the reputation that Toyota has built for providing durability and reliability is absolutely holding true when it comes to the Prius. Early concerns about whether or not the Prius could offer durability on a long term basis have been discredited, but potential buyers of the Toyota Prius hybrid electric car should still take extra care when researching potential cars to make sure that they are buying the right choice. The Toyota Prius is, after all, quite a complex vehicle, and this means that replacing parts and having the car repaired could be expensive in the future.
The current Toyota Prius is the second generation Prius, which is a much improved model. It features a four door body with a hatchback, and can seat as many as five people. The hybrid power train in this car features a small engine fueled by 1.5 liters of gasoline, which is used in conjunction with two electric motors. This car's special planetary gear set allows it to function with a continuously variable transmission, resulting in an adequate amount of power, a significant reduction in tail pipe emissions and an excellent fuel economy as well.
Both power sources come together under full acceleration of the vehicle, providing the maximum amount of power. Under lighter load conditions, the Prius can alternate between the two different types of engines, often running only on the battery power. This car makes use of a regenerative braking system, converting heat energy into electricity to keep the battery pack charged on a consistent basis. The gasoline engine in the Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicle can produce 76 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, making it a decently powered engine for what it is.
In the past, a car powered by a battery or even by air may have seemed impossible, but the technology to accomplish this has actually been around for many decades. This technology was overlooked in favor of combustion engines despite the superior technology of the air and electric engine over the combustion engine. Despite this turn of events, battery and air powered cars have been making a strong comeback due to the change in awareness of global warming and unwise decision to raise gas prices, which have resulted in consumers becoming more gas-smart and driving more economically.
The Toyota Prius has been the reigning vehicle in regards to cost, performance, and being green. The Prius can average between 40 and 60mpg, and has a fair amount of room for multiple passengers with available trunk space, which is something that many hybrid cards do not offer as the batteries typically fill up the trunk. In addition, the Prius is a comfortable price that will not rip your wallet in half in order to buy it. In addition, the current tax breaks also make buying any kind of hybrid electric car a wise decision, especially when in consideration of the rising gas costs despite the recent drop.
However, the Toyota Prius may now have some competition with the arrival of the Zero Pollution Motors’ “Air” car, which can run off air. It averages around 106 mpg, and although it only has a top speed of 35mph, this top speed is more than economical in most locations. However, if you want to go on the highway, the CAV can use a small motor to compress air as you drive by to allow you to travel for almost 800 miles on a combination of air and either bio-diesel, gas, ethanol, or multiple forms of vegetable oil in order to compress the air. With the new advances in solar technology, it may be possible to completely do away with the need to refill the small gas engine in favor or an electric one that will recharge as you drive combined with solar energy. This could potentially allow a person to continue to drive indefinitely.
Green hybrid vehicles are typically expensive in nature, but with competitive vehicles like the Prius and ZPM “Air”, these prices are being driven down. The Air goes for a solid price of about $20,000, and although it is not yet in the United States, the expected date for seventeen different plants to open is 2011 as soon as testing and safety approval is complete. In addition, this technology is not welded together as with traditional vehicles, and is instead built like airplanes with airplane technology, allowing any individual part to be replaced without intensive work. With technology moving this quickly and new innovations happening all of the time, and the desire by so many individuals to protect this world with green technology, green hybrid cars will be leaving behind combustion vehicles in their rear view mirrors.