Panasonic’s full-length solar roof was unveiled recently and is available on the Japanese version of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. Consumer vehicles integrating the solar cells on the roofs have been often debated due to the cost-to-benefit ratio. But the new setup of the solar roof by Panasonic, which has the capacity of generating around 180 watts, is an innovative attempt towards solar modules.
The solar roof has the capacity to provide Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV) a range of around 3.7 miles per day when it is parked outside, according to Toyota. This is more than triple the energy generation in comparison to the former 50-watts roof panels on the Toyota. It is observed that the HIT™ Photovoltaic Module for Automobile could inspire other brand cars and has the capacity to charge the battery to almost 180 watts output, and also power the accessories.
Meanwhile, Panasonic claimed that the new chemistry was responsible for the new creation. The company admitted that the solar cells had a unique structure made up of a crystalline silicon substrate and an amorphous silicon film. It also featured a high conversion efficiency blended with excellent temperature characteristics. The solar panel fitted on the roof is a fit-to-shape on the Prius Prime and the contours and drag coefficient were kept the same.
Panasonic is a solar cell and battery supplier to Telsa and the company is also augmenting the relationship towards more potential business with other carmakers. The company reiterated that they would be making efforts to leverage the use of the HIT™ Photovoltaic Module for Automobile, and this would be backed by their attempts at contributing and achieving an environment-friendly cohesive society in automotive, inclusive of the housing and industrial fields.
Elon Musk, Telsa, tweeted in November 2016 that the Telsa Model 3 had a possibility of a solar roof. It is also reported that Musk has expressed interest in automotive solar panels. There are reportedly no concrete outcomes on this front. Meanwhile, Panasonic is working on a solution to enable the solar roof to pass some U.S. rollover tests, which is work-in-progress with no specific timeline.