Solar Power Prius: More Solar Hype than Solar Reality


The last few months, the internet has been buzzing with rumors of Toyota fielding its next Prius at least partly if not fully powered by Solar.

Sorry to burst the bubble, but CNN just announced that is not the case at all.

The third generation Toyota Prius, coming this spring to a showroom near you, does have an optional solar panel on its roof. But it doesnt power anything useful. Not the power train, not the lights, not the air conditioning, heck not even lowly iPod/CD player/radio. You know what it does? Ahem, it powers a ventilation fan that will cool your car parked in the sun on hot sunny days. You can turn it on by key remote prior to entering it, so that the seats dont burn you and the AC cools the car faster than without this ventilation fan. Hmmmmmm. And for this privilege I am guesstimating that you will be paying anywhere between $3-5,000 at least.

And lets not even talk about the added pollution contributed to the earth with the manufacturing of these useless car roof-top solar panels. (Yes it takes factories and electricity and waste products to manufacture solar panels. They are not dropped on earth by storks singing green lullabies.)

Bottom line benefit for wearing your latest credential: None. On the contrary, its going to cost you a lot to be green cool.

I love solar power, be it solar power cars or Solar Power Homes. But it sure is honest to take a good look at the economics now and then.