NEDO, Sharp Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation announce a plan to commence public road trials from late July 2019. The trials aim to assess the effectiveness of improvements in cruising range and fuel efficiency of electrified vehicles equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries.

Sharp modularized its high-efficiency solar battery cells, previously developed for a NEDO-led project, to create an onboard solar battery panel. Toyota installed this panel on the roof, hood, rear hatch door, and other parts of its “Prius PHV” and produced a demo car for public road trials. By enhancing the solar battery panel’s efficiency and expanding its onboard area, Toyota was able to achieve a rated power generation output of around 860 W. In addition to substantially boosting its power generation output, the demo car employs a system that charges the driving battery while the vehicle is parked and also while it’s being driven, a development that is expected to lead to considerable improvements in electric-powered cruising range and fuel efficiency.

Toyota plans to conduct the trials under various driving conditions in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Tokyo, and other areas. Various data, including the power generation output of the solar battery panel and the amount the drive battery is charged, will be obtained and verified, and then used in the development of an onboard solar recharging system.