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Third Generation Prius to Include Solar Panels

July 09, 2008

Source: Reuters

The next generation of Toyota’s Prius gasoline-electric hybrids will draw a small part of its energy from another source—the sun.  Toyota plans to install solar panels on the roof of the cars early next year to power the cars’ air conditioning units.

Toyota will become the first major automaker to use solar power for a vehicle.  The gas savings might prove significant.  A report published by the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory in 2006 found that hybrid vehicles tested experienced a 15 to 27 percent drop in fuel economy with the air conditioning on.

Use RPN’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Calculator to compare operating costs and emissions of hybrid electric (HEV) and conventional vehicles. The calculator includes purchase price, fuel costs, repair and maintenance costs, resale value, and applicable tax incentives, and calculates expected lifetime costs for both vehicles, as well as cost and emissions savings from HEVs.

For more information on hybrids and other ways to make your fleet greener and more efficient, see the Responsible Purchasing Guide for Light-Duty Fleet Vehicles.

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