2010 Prius

The 2010 Prius unveiled Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit gets an average of 50 miles to the gallon. That’s a 4 mpg improvement over the current model, which already is the most fuel-efficient vehicle ranked by the EPA.

“It’s a core model for us,” Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said in an interview before the Prius’ unveiling. “It’s a very, very important piece for us.”

The third gen Prius has a more aerodynamic design, but its exterior is easily recognizable as a Prius. Toyota says pricing will be released before the midsize sedan goes on sale in late spring.

I found this to be an interesting addition to the Prius. Well an interesting option with little benefit. Also, nothing new as far as technology goes.
Not the actual panel in the 2010 Prius


The optional solar-powered ventilation system uses an electrically powered air circulation fan that doesn’t need the engine to work. It prevents the interior air temperature from rising while the vehicle is parked.

The ventilation system can be remotely operated, so drivers can adjust the interior temperature before getting inside. Toyota says this remote air conditioning system is an industry first.

IMO: As Prius owners look for ways to improve their fuel economy and vehicle efficiency after market sources like A123 look to fill the niche. Providing a plug-in conversion (like A123), or maybe an aftermarket solar panel that suction cups to your window to charge your battery, (which provides an almost useless amount of wattage). I have seen quite a bit of these over the years. One good, many bad.

Toyota looking to capitalize on hybrid owners enviromental enthusiasm had to find a way to incorporate a solar panel into the 3rd gen Prius. Think of this solar panel as the loud exhaust of a hotrod, Not adding much bite but lots of bark. Thats the way I see it. Marketing hype, from Toyota to you.

Audi first incorporated a solar panel into the sunroof for cabin temperature maintenance in 2000. Like I mentioned, no new technology here. IMO-marketing hype.

Audi A6 Solar sunroof

Audi solar roof

Even in very low sunlight, light-sensitive elements under the glass sunroof panel produce electricity to power the ventilator inside the vehicle. Even when the ignition is switched off, the interior will be supplied with a continuous flow of fresh air and temperature levels inside the vehicle can be reduced by as much as 50% with the outside air that is cleaned as is passes through the dust and pollen filter. This kind of ventilation does not put any additional demands on the car’s battery. This preliminary cooling lets the air conditioner cool the interior to the desired temperature with little energy and use of the ventilator.

My solar powered car. Sitting on my mousepad which has images of the most efficient vehicle made my man.