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High-end Hybrid Goes Solar
Jul 2008
TOKYO, July 8, 2008 -- Amid record high oil prices and the global push to reduce carbon emissions, Toyota Motor is planning to install solar panels on their high-end, third-generation Prius hybrids, slated for release next year.

The move would make Toyota the first major automaker to incorporate a solar-power generation system into a mass-produced car.

Despite the rising cost of silicon solar panels and the difficulty storing solar energy, this move is seen more as a symbolic gesture than a viable solution. The solar panels, which are said to be supplied by Kyocera, would be able to power only part of the air conditioning system. Toyota has not yet confirmed the reports.prius.jpg

Prius has, thus far, dominated the “green” market and subsequently has had difficulty keeping up with demand, while other big automakers are racing for alternative solutions to using fossil fuels in hopes of softening their image by being seen as ecologically and globally conscious.

Unfortunately, the reality is that solar energy cannot provide the energy needed to make a substantial difference in energy conversion, as of yet. 

The Prius, the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car, first went on sale in Japan in late 1997 and has since topped 1 million units in sales worldwide.

Toyota has a goal of selling at least 1 million hybrid cars a year in the early part of the next decade by offering the fuel-saving system on more vehicles.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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