That’s the goal of a trial Toyota is starting this month in Japan. The system generates enough power to drive the Prius PHV for about 35 miles (56 km).
Toyota is running the trial on public roads through February in conjunction with solar cell maker Sharp Corp. under a Japanese government-backed initiative called the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.
Unlike the current system, which charges only while the car is parked, the new version also charges while being driven.
Some of the gains come through more efficient solar cells. But the new technology also uses many more panels.
The hood, roof and rear window are layered with black solar cells just 0.03 mm thick. Because they are so thin, they can be form-fitted to the Prius’ body curves and rear hatch.
A Toyota spokesman said rear visibility isn’t a problem because the driver can use the side mirrors while driving and the rear-vision video camera when parking or backing up.
Source: Automotive News Europe