The new Prius has many things that the old Prius lacked, for instance a solar moonroof. Just what does the solar moonroof do for the Prius?
The solar moonroof is manufactured by Kyocera. It is made up of polycrystalline silicon cells that are arranged in a six by six grid. These cells generate electricity from the sun as all solar panels do. The panel is actually capable of churning out about 50 watts of power which is more than enough to provide energy to a fan which cools the cabin of the Prius when the engine is off.
The solar moonroof option adds comfort to drivers and passengers by allowing the fan to operate at a stoplight or coasting when the engine is shut down to increase fuel economy numbers.
If you opt for the solar moonroof, you lose the standard Pagoda roof and due to the solar panels design you also slightly increase the frontal area of the vehicle. The glass covered solar panels cannot fit the contour of the Pagoda roof. Toyota believes that the solar panel will prove to be robust enough for the rigors endured in automotive applications.
Though optional and costly at about $2,000, Toyota believes most buyers will opt for the solar roof which should add some degree of additional comfort while driving through the hot summer days ahead of us.
Source: Nikkei Newspaper Japan