The Toyota Prius has, in many respects, been the leading light in terms of green cars. The hybrid cars were one of the first cars to run on a combination of petrol and electric and though early models left a little to be desired in the design stakes, the third generation looks pretty futuristic. What’s more, the latest incarnation of the Japanese car will include solar panels on select models.
It is believed that, because of the limitations in solar panels, that they will be used to power the air conditioning unit. This will help to reduce the amount of electricity used to power the unit, but it is believed to be more a symbolic gesture because of the mentioned limitations.
Another potential problem with the idea, which is set to hit showrooms in 2009, is that silicon prices are rising and have been for a while. As oil prices continue to hike, alternative solutions also rise in price because of the increased demand. As such, for a symbolic gesture, it may cost a less than reasonable amount to buy a solar model.
For all the potential flaws and limited scope of solar panels, the Prius does continue to push the boundaries in environmentally friendly cars. More than 1 million of the Toyota hybrid cars have been sold since their introduction, and the demand continues to increase. Toyota is, at the very least, trying to offer something new and broaden the possibility of green energy and its use in vehicles.