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Panasonic Makes Renewed Claim for Solar Panels on the Roofs of EVs

The idea of putting solar panels on the top of electric vehicles sounds like the most obvious decisions that mankind has ever been presented with. It's like pondering whether you should put a tiny gas tank that magically replenishes itself overnight (or more likely overday in this case) in ICE cars or not.
Toyota Prius Prime with solar roof 1 photo
It's a no-brainer. If it gives you extra mileage, why not do it? Well, for some reason, the idea was considered more troublesome than useful for now, at least as far as mass-produced cars were concerned. There were those weird-shaped vehicles that ran solely on solar power to prove a point, but we're talking real-world application here.

The new Toyota Prius Prime is the first one to have solar panels on its roof that feed directly into the EV's main battery. And Panasonic, the electronics giant that is now famously working together with Tesla at its Gigafactory battery, among other things, believes more EVs should follow its example.

Sure, if presented with the choice between leaving your car out in the sun to charge or putting it inside the garage where the power outlet is, most people will wisely go for the latter. After all, even Toyota says that its roof arrangement is only good for 1.8- to 3.7-miles of driving range per charge.

That sounds like something that's very close to nothing. However, if we consider the maximum value of 3.7 miles, and your daily commute consists of 37 miles, that means you can cover ten percent using solar energy. Which, at least for now, is free.

With the technology for manufacturing solar panels evolving, their costs will inevitably go down, meaning you could compensate for the initial purchase over a relatively short period of time. The idea of putting solar panels on the roofs of EVs was always there, but it was considered unfeasible and was thus ignored.

Panasonic believes it's time to reconsider that, and we would be surprised if more EV manufacturers didn't feel the same. Especially the ones that are already working with the Japanese giant and also have a recently launched solar panel division, if you know who we're talking about.

“Car roofs have the potential to become a new market for solar panels,” Shingo Okamoto, the general manager at Panasonic told Bloomberg. “We made history in the auto industry and in the solar industry with the sun powering mass-produced cars for the first time in the world.”


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