Jun 9 2009 Steve Hughes
TOYOTA has come up with a cool idea for its new Prius which will harness energy from the sun.
When the new hybrid model goes on sale in August it will offer an air conditioning system powered entirely by solar panels in the glass roof.
The system can operate whilst the vehicle is parked with the engine switched off, keeping the interior cool for when the driver returns.
It comes in the form of a £1,450 optional Solar Pack on the flagship T Spirit model, which will be priced at £18,370 in standard form.
Solar panels are integrated into a sliding sunroof, which power the electric air circulation fan. Running independently from the engine, it can cool the interior temperature so there is less need for the air conditioning to be used when occupants return to the vehicle.
The system can be activated as the driver leaves the car. The system starts operating after ten minutes, continuing until it is switched off or the ignition is turned on.
Toyota says that the system has been made possible by the new Prius's large capacity hybrid battery and could not be supported by a conventional 12 volt car battery. It can also be activated from outside by pressing a button on the key fob.