Archives – September, 2009

Toyota Prius Solar Mounted Roof

toyota-prius-solarOne of the nice features that come with the 2010 Toyota Prius Solar Mounted Roof option is cabin temperature. While the 2010 Prius is one of the most affordable hybrid cars on the market, it has a lot of innovative features, and that’s one of the things that separates this vehicle from others. The solar mounted panels on the roof actually absorb the sun’s energy to power the electric fan that cools the cabin.

The electric fan is part of the Toyota Prius Solar Powered Ventilation System. If the hybrid is in direct sunlight, it will cool itself by running on energy that is stored in the solar panels. How this system works might be simple, but it’s a feature that can protect the interior from hot temperatures.

You can also enter the car without it being oven-hot during the summer months, unless you live where the temperature is always hot. The Toyota ventilation system will automatically turn on when the cabin temperature reaches 86 degrees. When it comes on, it will ventilate the vehicle using the outside air.

This also brings up another point to bring up about this solar technology. Toyota might be working on new innovative ways to use this technology to power other accessories for the Toyota Prius. The automaker has a test car already built with solar panels through its exterior, the same model that helped developed the current mounted solar roof. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were already developing ways to power interior lights, radio, power windows, and other accessories in future cars.

While there isn’t a way to fully power an electric hybrid car using solar technology, some automakers are already powering their factories and plants with this free energy. How it works exactly, I don’t quite know, but that is a major step that might be in the works for automobiles. One possible way is using a chemical that can react to the sun and produce energy.

Hybrid batteries are already using similar chemicals that can react with nickel and produce the same energy. This idea, or design, might be developed soon as car manufacturer’s race to compete with alternative energy vehicles. If solar panels can already power an electric fan for the 2010 Prius, the development process is halfway there.

Maybe a new hybrid car will come out soon that can offer energy efficient alternatives to power vehicle accessories. It would be a wise decision that could eventually lead to smaller gas engines to charge the hybrid battery. The 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid could be the perfect candidate for such development.

1 Comment September 11, 2009

4 Ways To Maximize Your Hybrid Fuel Use

lower mpgYou want the best bang for your buck when it comes to capitalizing your fuel usage and that is why you purchased a hybrid. But did you know that you can likely achieve even greater fuel conservation with this vehicle? Your hybrid is a complex, efficient machine. There are several ways that you can use its efficiency to your advantage. Read on for four ideas on maximizing your hybrid’s fuel usage:

1. Proper treatment and maintenance of your hybrid’s engine – This idea sounds easy enough. Heck, it is common sense that every car owner, regardless of whether it is a gas or hybrid vehicle, should follow. Besides, you can reduce pollution released in the environment by properly maintaining your car. Change the oil regularly as well as the air filters. If the oil becomes dirty, it could clog up your air filter. By the same token, if the air filter is clogged, it cannot protect your engine from contaminants. Check the spark plugs to ensure the contacts are still good and firing correctly. Consider a tune-up every so often when you feel that your vehicle is not running at 100 percent.

Don’t forget that a hybrid car has another power source to draw from. If you have an electric motor that can run from a battery, you don’t have to always rely on the gasoline engine. Turn off the gas engine every once in a while to conserve on gasoline. In fact, during those wait times in your car, whether it is in a traffic jam, stop light or railroad crossing, turn off the gasoline engine and allow the battery power to operation by itself every so often.

2. Regularly check your hybrid’s tires – First of all, many people know that tires with the proper air pressure will ensure the best mileage possible. The manual for hybrid vehicles typically lists a minimum and maximum level of air pressure for the tires. Invest in a tire gauge. By under-inflating or over-inflating the tires, you stand the risk of wear and tear on the tires, which can eat up your gas mileage. Make sure you do anything you can to keep the tires inflated properly. Check for leaks or sharp objects possibly stuck in the tire. The best rule of thumb would be to check the air pressure in your tires the same time every week.

Choose a tire that withstands the toughest of terrains. A hybrid vehicle needs a tire with great traction. And since regular gas-powered cars lose some fuel economy due to the drag that tires can produce, hybrids often need a special, stronger tire inflated to a bit more than the normal air pressure in order to provide a smoother ride which causes less drag and improves the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

3. Practice being efficient about your hybrid vehicle’s usage – Why bother with a number of short trips and errands? Plan your days and combine all of your trips together. Not only will this be a time saver for you but also a saver in gasoline as well. When you run a number of errands in as many days, you are likely starting your engine from a cold stage. This cold start eats up a lot more gasoline than if you combined all your errand-running into one day.

Take control of your air conditioning in your hybrid as well. When it is hot outside and you run the AC in your car, this uses up extra gas. The hybrid vehicle has ventilation, which allows air to flow through and circulate. Once your hybrid car cools, be sure to modify the settings and even switch off the air conditioner once the desired temperature is reached.

4. Keep your speed under control – Many people tend to have a lead foot and breeze at least five or ten miles per hour above the speed limit. It is this lead foot syndrome that can negatively impact your hybrid’s fuel consumption. It has to do with aerodynamics. Sometimes, the faster you drive a car, the more drag it has. This translates to the faster the speed; the faster your fuel is consumed. Lighten the lead foot and you will realize a bit more fuel efficiency in your hybrid.

The hybrid car is making strides in the vehicle market. However, it also takes responsible ownership and care in order to fully realize all of the benefits that a hybrid can provide its owner.

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