The Japanese multinational NEDO and Sharp have improved the integration of photovoltaics in the famous Toyota hybrid. At the end of the month, road tests will assess the possible benefits of its integration into electric cars.

Toyota Prius PHV electric range, solar hybrid.

The photovoltaic cars club has a new member: the nNew Toyota Prius PHV, a plug-in hybrid car with solar cells integrated into the body.

This model is the result of the recent collaboration between the multinational NEDO (the largest Japanese public organization promoting research) and Sharp.

However, this is not the first time that Toyota has given a nod to the world of photovoltaic cars. The multinational has been making a Prius model that can be recharged with solar energy for several years.

The system, developed in collaboration with Panasonic, was able to provide battery power only during stops, providing enough electricity to extend the range of the Prius to a maximum of around 6.1 km per day.

What changes in the new Toyota Prius PHV?

First, the performance and scope of photovoltaics: Sharp has modularized its high-efficiency solar cells to integrate them into the roof, hood, tailgate and other small parts of the car, in this way Toyota was able to achieve a nominal power generation of approximately 860 W, approximately 4.8 times that of the Prius PHV model on the market today.

In addition, the new system is able to charge the car even while driving, it is therefore not necessary to park or pay for the vehicle.

Prius PHV solar.

The prototype will be tested on Japanese roads at the end of July, and developers say the solar panels should be able to guarantee at least 44.5 km.

The tests will be used to collect information on range and fuel efficiency and will be shared with Sharp and NEDO.

The PV Vehicle Strategy Committee, sponsored by the organization and other research entities, will assess the benefits based on improvements in CO2 reduction, cost and number of vehicle recharges.

The objective – explains Toyota in a press release – is to help create a new market for solar panels and batteries, including the transport sector, by finding new solutions to energy and environmental problems.. “