Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Nov 10

Solar Charging Stations by Toyota

Posted in Electric Cars | Solar Power | Transportation

Solar Charging Station Toyota It seemed like it would only be a matter of time before Toyota would jump into the market of using renewable energy to charge a car and they have done so in a big way. The solar charging station by Toyota will be put on display at the Tokyo Motor Show 2009. While there are other charging stations on the market for electric cars, the fact that this one is solar powered has the industry abuzz in anticipation.

The solar charging station by Toyota almost looks like something that you would have seen in one of the old sci-fi movies, but this is the real deal. It works by collecting the suns energy through solar panels and then stores the energy in a battery that is later used to charge and power the vehicle. This is just another great innovation that is pushing our world to a ‘greener’ lifestyle and will use renewable energy in yet another every day application.

While there is not yet a price tag that has been placed on the device, it should be available on the general market for purchase sometime in 2010. Current estimates have it coming out in the range of “several hundred thousand yen” (a few thousand in USD). With the money that one would save on their electric bill, you would have to think that this will be worth every penny once it finally does hit the open market.

In addition to the solar charging station by Toyota has also introduced a battery charger that can be mounted directly into the vehicle. It will just about double the current voltage to charge the secondary battery of hybrid vehicles. This is another money saver that electric car owners will probably flock to once it is available to them.

A solar panel charger for an automobile is a huge breakthrough in that hybrid and electric cars are becoming more and more popular because of the falling economy and rising gas prices. If someone can use solar charging and recover the cost of their investment in just a few months, it makes even more sense to buy one of these energy efficient cars. In less than a year, you can literally be charging your car and driving down the highway at absolutely no cost to you. The world is well on its way to becoming ‘greener’ and innovative uses of solar panel chargers will lead the way.

  • Francisco A Roque

    It appears that only the Japanese engineers are able to think, I hope the ones employed by Detroit may take notes and start thinking about what not only America, but the whole world needs, in order to free ourselves from the oil cartels, that although they pushed the economy to almost total collapse, continue to push it everyday, regardless of so much unemployment.

  • Jos Conil

    Really a laudable initiative by a major auto company. But more details are needed to judge the effectiveness of these charging stations in urban areas with limitations in sunshine.

    A more effective approach would be to connect the charging station to a larger green power source – can be wind, solar, concentrated solar power towers or bio mass based. The in-site solar panels will be like a back up for discrepancies in the power from these sources.

  • russ

    The few thousand is only the Toyota portion of the unit – the tip of the iceberg! Probably not even covering the batteries required.

    Don’t forget to add the cost of the panels, inverter, installation etc. The it all comes to what? 20,000 – maybe 30,000 or more.

    There ain’t no free lunch!

  • Dan Greene

    I can see another BetaMax / VHS or BlueRay / HD kinda thing happening here.
    Somebody should create a standard “plug” or whatever, before we get to the stage where there is a big fight over which system is best and some poor people haven’t got the standard fitting and can no longer charge!
    Or am I just being naive?

  • clare jane mcvety

    I think this is a great idea for electric cars. If you’re on the move and you’ve got panels on your roof and the sun is shining down on them, so it is charging the battery.

    I’ve also had an idea for a wind powered recharger for a car which is good for the environment and economical too. It is a fan placed under the bonnet of the car and it re-charges a battery while on the move.

    What do you all think?

  • gmail

    Well anything is better than nothing, but I would rather see Toyota putting the money towards a fully electric car.

  • Gene

    This is an entertaining idea, but how does one get the vehicle charged if you need to use it during the day? That only leaves the evening and night hours … when it’s dark. Of course, one could build batteries into the system, but that seems like an oxymoron: charge batteries during the day (when and if the sun is out) so that in the evening you can recharge the vehicle batteries from the fixed battery bank. And that would also increase the cost substantially, as well as require anyone with one of these systems to either buy high-end metal hydrid or other “dry” batteries, or to use traditional “wet” batteries containing sulfuric acid-based electrolyte solution and lead plates. Most people seem to freak out when they find out that household bleach is a hazardous material, so it’s hard to imagine they will welcome the idea of big batteries in their home, plus the idea of having a monitoring system in place for hydrogen gas that lead-acid batteries can produce …

    Plus, as others have noted, it still leaves a lot to be desired for the MANY communities in which PV solar does not work well (those with large percentages of cloudy days or rain, those far north where the solar panel would have to be adjusted seasonally to optimize capture & conversion, etc.). Wind would be the same challenge as some of the best commercial wind turbines only attain their nameplate capacity about 25% of the time. Below that, electric generation drops very rapidly.

  • john

    in response to:clare jane mcvety:
    November 17th, 2009

    I think this is a great idea for electric cars. If you’re on the move and you’ve got panels on your roof and the sun is shining down on them, so it is charging the battery.

    I’ve also had an idea for a wind powered recharger for a car which is good for the environment and economical too. It is a fan placed under the bonnet of the car and it re-charges a battery while on the move.

    What do you all think?
    Sounds like a great idea. Thin film solar on the roof of the vehicle and a fan generator for recharging. I’d patent it if I were you!

  • Jen

    Using solar recharging stations is one great idea. We should have overhead panels lining the shoulders of our freeways with emergency quick charge stations every few miles! The shorter range of electric cars need these so they don’t have to call a tow to the nearest vending machine outlet!

  • Tony Gardin

    I am looking forward to when these stations will be available for the homeowner for a typical garage application.

  • Howard Butts

    I love the forward thinking much like electric are and one day truck,Big truck,Oh that can`t be done I forgot. O just give the problem to a high school-er and the most inventive solution will develop and the rest of the younger generation will make it work and us old fogy’s can just keep saying it will never work don`t even waste your time and MY money I need to by sum Gas.

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