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"Possible Milestones for Solar Car - Smaller cars with panels all over..."

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Why Toyota's Solar Car is Impossible (and a Little Silly)

***NOTE: Industrious EcoGeeks have tried their hardest to find the original source article reporting this news. The AP Article claimed to be quoting an article from Japan's Nikkei. That Nikkei article has not been located, and appears to not Toyota may not have claimed that they're working on a car solely powered by solar. Frankly...since it seems like such a fantastical claim...we are not surprised. But if this is true...I'll take back some of generic pack viagra the mean things I said below :-).

I find it hilarious that Toyota has been going on and on about how extended-range electric vehicles are technologically impossible, and now they're saying that their goal is a 100% solar powered car.

OK Toyota, we get it, you dropped the ball. You were riding so smoothly on your hybrid-electric white mare that you forgot to when will cialis be available as a generic keep innovating for a couple of years. That's cool, you're welcome to jump back on the bandwagon any time...but don't tell us you'll be doing it with an impossible car.

A vehicle with solar panels to help charge the we choice soft levitra tablets hybrid or all-electric battery? Sure. A car that comes with a discounted photovoltaic system for your house...I'll buy that. But you can't have a car that is solely run by photovoltaic panels on the car. It is literally impossible.

To power the average 30 mpg car, you'd need a solar array roughly the size of two cars. Even high efficiency solar cells at noon in the desert couldn't produce enough power to run a street-legal two seater. Of course, none of this will really be an issue...since 100% of the cities in America have these pesky things called shadows.

It's possible that something was mistranslated by the AP, who reported the story from a Japanese article. Maybe they're just hoping to build a car that could be run by the energy generated by solar cells...if the car was parked in the sun for 16 straight hours.

Solar powered cars, in general, I believe to be a poor use of solar panels. Because of the relatively small loss of power in transferring electrons from your roof to your car, it's always a better idea to tramadol prescribed by vet put the buy levitra online panels on your roof. The car will invariably spend less time oriented toward the sun and more time in shadow.

Why not have the panels where they will always catch the maximum amount of inexpensive cialis sun? They'll cost less, be more versatile, and produce far more power.

Via the AP (and just about every environmental blog on the planet)

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Comments (23)Add Comment
written by gover, January 02, 2009
AP names the Nikkei as the source. The funny thing is, there is no such article in today’s Nikkei, nor is there one that was published in previous days. A search of both the click now levitra 20 Japanese and English versions of the Nikkei for “Toyota” and “solar” comes up with nothing. The car doesn’t exist. The Nikkei article quoted by the AP doesn’t exist either.

What is in the Nikkei is a story about advances in construction technologies — of houses. It reads like this: “Homes that can use electric cars as power storage batteries is just one of the new construction technologies expected to receive attention in 2009. Such technology was jointly developed by Tostem Housing Institute Co., which belongs to JS Group Corp, Mitsubishi Corp., the Tokyo Institute of Technology and others. Their final goal is to develop a system whereby electric cars serve as a battery for homes. The cars are to be charged by solar power and less-expensive nighttime electricity, and their stored energy tapped to power homes when necessary. Such a system is seen slashing carbon dioxide emissions.” Granted, the story reads off-the-wall-ish. There is no Toyota mentioned anywhere. They are talking about charging a plug-in with solar panels on the roofs of houses. Big deal.
The trouble is: The story is making headlines around the world, raising hopes for something that doesn’t exist. Not even in the news story that is quoted.

Pesky Shadows
written by Deanna, January 02, 2009
Completely agree.
written by Kevin, January 03, 2009
The Volt, for instance, will run 4-6 miles for each kWh of charge. 30 miles of travel would require 5-7 kWh from the batteries. If you drain that in the morning getting to drug impotence levitra work and you had eight hours of order levitra pill normal sunlight to replace what you consumed, you'd need at least a one kilowatt system in for a summer day or as much as a 4 kilowatt system in the depths of winter (assuming solar insolation typical of the Bay Area). If your commute was shorter, you'd need more.

A one kilowatt system would take up, using high efficiency Sunpower cells, about 62 square feet. The Volt's dimensions are 87 square feet, so you might have just enough flat space between the hood and the roof to cover that. But if you wanted to be able to get 5-7 kWh year round that wouldn't cut it.

All this just underlines your basic point. The concept of covering cars in solar cells to charge them is, to be generous, a questionable ambition. Though using a small array to keep your car cool and buy cialis china to trickle charge the battery array is not a bad idea. When all is said and done I suspect that "100% solar powered" would cover you only if your daily commute was to how much cialis drop the kids off at school.
Go Solar
written by CelticSolar, January 03, 2009
If you had 600W of PV on the car, you could get about 500kWh annually (depending on where you live and park). That could get you over 2000 miles per year of driving for free. It certainly cannot be your only "fuel" but 2000 miles per year can pay back the cost of the PV pretty quickly.
written by odograph, January 03, 2009
I think I've detected a Detroit bias here in the past, and to see you go off like this, treating a 2nd or 3rd hand report of a "secret" project the tramadol online no prescription same as an announcement by Toyota reinforces that.

FWIW, my memory is that Toyota officially said that solar input in future cars might be low, maybe just running the A/C when you aren't there. As someone in the southwest, that seems reasonable and attractive.
most likely a misreport
written by Mark Bartosik, January 03, 2009
I agree this is most likely a misreport or mistranslation. I don't envisage a responsible executive making a claim like this. But I'll have fun at Toyota's expense anyway.
I'll bet that I can power a GM Volt from my house roof before I can drive a Toyota powered from cells on it's roof.
Here's my roof:
written by Hank, January 03, 2009
If ecogeek has a bias against toyota, it's only because we hold them to a higher standard. They're supposed to be a greener option, and when we see them making foolish choices or avoiding innovation, we feel a responsibility to make it clear that Toyota has to do more in order to impress us than other auto companies would. The spirit of effect of cialis on women innovation that made the Prius has been invisible since they became the world's leading manufacturer.
written by Carl, January 03, 2009
There isn't enough area on a car (without a trailer), but a carport is about the right area to generate the electricity of an electric car (using a 15K mi/yr Telsa and CIGS panels). The panels on a carport don't need to suppliers viagra be hauled around and can be optimally placed toward the sun. [The photos of a solar car previously running around are to run the air conditioning when left in the sun-- not to charge the battery.]
written by Nick, January 03, 2009
Any plans to bring back Carectomy? Please
Induction augmentation
written by Crighton Browne, January 03, 2009
Few people realize that the canadian pharmacy tramadol no rx roadside alternating current power distribution system provides a good augmentation service. Copper coils around the roof of the car induce sufficient power to help charge the battery.
written by Cameron, January 03, 2009
"Why not have the panels where they will always catch the maximum amount of sun? They'll cost less, be more versatile, and produce far more power."

Because nothing says "I care" more than a sporty coupe covered in solar panels.
written by Ben, January 04, 2009
I must say this article is very NON ecogeek of you to write. Solar panels are a good thing, whether a car company can make a car run entirely on solar or not is beside the point. I am very excited to see that they are at least experimenting with it. Any power created using solar, even if minimal, is still saving power creation from gasoline or grid (or elsewhere). So despite Toyota making a ridiculous claim that they want a 100% solar car (only ridiculous by today's standards), its not a bad goal to have. As cars get more efficient to run they won't require as much power, ever think that maybe their focus is to make the car more efficient? not just to try to produce massive amounts of power? You're welcome to your opinion, but I think you may have jumped the gun in drawing you're conclusions and not seeing this as a good thing, whether 'impossible' or not.
Impossible Things
written by Hank, January 05, 2009
Impossible claims are bad. You can't go around lying about what's possible... panels existing is not a positive environmental thing. They have to produce power to be good for the environment. They take a lot of energy to produce, and if they aren't producing all the energy they could produce, we run the risk of pfizer viagra using more energy to create the panels than they deliver in the first few years of power production. That's the LAST piece of fodder I want to give the viagra internet sales anti-renewable set.

EcoGeek will continue to call companies out when they promise things that are physically impossible, despite how wonderful they would be if they were real...otherwise, half our stories would be about perpetual motion machines and cialis price in canada water-powered cars.
written by David A. Budd, January 06, 2009
I don't wish to be smarmy, but debate and commentary on this possibly wholly imaginary story represent a profound waste of energy. Why not simply contact Toyota for a clarification of what their claim (if any) is. Then the commentary or debate can start. In this case, the premise is so silly that it strikes me as highly likely that Toyota intended its roof top solar panel to either trickle charge the battery slightly or to run a small air exchange fan to keep the interior of the vehicle from overheating. In any event why not simply ask Toyota for a clarification/explanation?
written by Ben, January 07, 2009
I agree with you David on both points.

And @Hank, Not trying to get on your case, I love your blog and almost all of what you post. This is just a little hypocritical. You're knocking Toyota for not having their facts straight, when it's very possible yours aren't. Also, to say anything is impossible in this day and age is very naive! (Highly improbable in the near future? yes...Impossible? NO)
written by Dave, January 07, 2009
One interesting approach I reckon would be to turn all of the surface area on the car into solar collection using dye solar cells. Why stop at the roof when the bonnet, doors, and even the windscreen could be collecting solar energy. Granted, DSC aren't as efficient as silicon cells (about 15% is the record so far I think) but if you combine the buying viagra with no prescription two you're getting a lot closer - just add in a bit more weight reduction technology + more efficient motors, and it might be more achievable than you'd think?
A different bias
written by Bruce, January 07, 2009
Sure, in North America and most of Europe (where the average speed is, oh lets say 75 MPH!), you would not expect a purely solar powered automobile to be functional.

In China and India, and many super-cities in the world, the average speed and distance travelled are much less. The electric vehicle shines in this situation, and the all-solar approach becomes a possibility.

How far and visit web site generic pack viagra how fast do you need to go? These assumptions drive all else.
written by Richard Davine, January 07, 2009
Solar cells on a cars roof sounds like a good idea, speaking as an Australian. We try to park in the shade here, and there ain't enough!
Besides cars that run purely off solar have been kicking arse in our deserts every two years, but it's been Honda and even GM taking the flag. Sadly Toyota hasn't won a solar car challenge, YET!
Don't take yourselves too seriously guys.
The Sunraycer
written by Bruce, January 08, 2009

Perhaps you would enjoy looking at this article.
Toyota and solar cars
written by CBDunkerson, January 09, 2009
First, the Toyota bashing is completely misplaced because they never said that they were making such a car and have, since the false reports came out, specifically denied it. Story didn't come from them.

Second, while everyone is correct that there is no way to directly power a highway legal passenger car on DIRECT solar power... they are quite WRONG in saying that solar powered cars are impossible.

Nobody with half a brain is looking at DIRECT solar power for cars. If nothing else there would be the small problem that they could not run AT NIGHT. However, there is no reason why electric cars could not recharge their batteries with solar panels. Indeed, there are a couple of homespun solar-electric vehicles out there already. The examples I've seen reports of average around 15 miles per day on sunlight alone.

Doesn't seem like much right? However, 15*7=105 miles per week. 50% of US commuters drive 20 miles or less round trip to work 5 days a week... 105/5=21. Ergo, 50% of commuters could never pay a penny for gasoline or electric plug-in... with CURRENT jury-rigged technology. And the other 50% could significantly reduce their 'fuel' costs.

Thus, so far as I am concerned, EVERY vehicle which is fully or hybrid electric ought to have solar built in. They haven't to date because of cost, but solar cell costs have come WAY down in the past few years.
Solar Works
written by BeholdersEye, January 13, 2009
Come on solar, should be on all vehicle rooftops. Why? Hybrid cars do not run at a stop, so the solar panels will and can run all electronics and radio at a stop. While the car is parked, the solar panels can help keep the car cool by constantly run a fan. No need to ever use the 12/24 volt batteries, thus reduce electric load and the need to keep the batteries charged, thus extend the life of the batteries. TRY IT, IT WORKS.
Prius solar rooftop
written by DelawareJim, January 14, 2009
Most likely this supposed article about the Toyota solar car was about the solar rooftop on the 3rd generation Toyota Prius which will have a solar panel to power a cooling fan to cool the cars interior during the summer.

written by SolarBoy, March 08, 2009
Possible Milestones for Solar Car

- Smaller cars with panels all over
- Regenerative Braking
- Regenerative Shock Absorbers
- Sterling Engine for motor heat to power conversion
- Smaller more efficient motors
- More efficient batteries
- Better car shapes to facilitate optimum panel performance and distribution. Perhaps convex design.

Trades Offs
- Lower max speed
- Lower range

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