Solar power is rarely looked at as a viable source of energy for electric cars. Sure, the Prius uses rooftop solar panels to power its air-conditioning system, and solar-powered EV charging stations make sense, but solar powered vehicles have long been cast aside as pricey novelties. That might all change, however, with Sanyo’s Solar Electric Vehicle.
The truck, set to be exhibited tomorrow at the Eco Products 2009 International Exhibition in Tokyo, uses Sanyo-manufactured solar panels and lithium-ion batteries. Sixteen hours of direct solar charging provides 81 miles of run time. If charged via a 100 volt AC outlet, the truck takes just 8 hours to charge.
Sanyo hasn’t revealed concrete plans to go into the EV business, but the demonstration truck shows that the company is at least testing the waters with solar-powered vehicles. EVs certainly aren’t out of the question for the enterprising company–Sanyo recently announced plans to start selling lithium-ion battery-equipped homes through its newly created Sanyo Homes division.