Toyota Plans Solar Charging Solution For Electric Cars, The Environment Smiles

Electric vehicles sound fantastic in theory, but there's still the issue of charging the vehicles. Energy, even the kind not found in traditional fuel pumps, requires fossil fuels or a green alternative to make, and burning loads of coal in place of petrol doesn't exactly sound like a great compromise. Toyota seems to agree, with the automotive giant recently announcing that it had developed a solar charging station for plug-in hybrid automobiles and purely electric cars.

Essentially, this kind of charging solution really would enable an electric vehicle to cause a serious impact for good; not only would it avoid or lessen its use of petrol, but the energy used to recharge its batteries would come from non-harmful solar power. The municipal government of Toyota City in Aichi Prefecture, Japan has already bought into the idea, with plans already in place to build 21 of these stations at 11 different locations (like the municipal office, its branch offices, train stations, etc.). If all goes to plan, the city will begin operating these solar charging stations in April of 2010, shortly after some of the next-gen Prius plug-in hybrids hit the Japanese streets (in trial form, of course).

Essentially, the solar stations suck in energy during the daylight and store it locally; when vehicles pull up for charging, it taps into the store energy until that runs out. Once the solar energy is depleted, the traditional energy grid kicks in until more power can be captured and converted. If there's ever excess energy in the solution, that solar power can be channeled out into the grid to help lessen the impact of other companies using energy. Too bad we haven't a clue as to when North America will begin to adopt this stuff with any kind of haste.