Make Your Hybrid a Hybrid-Hybrid with Solar Power

Illustration for article titled Make Your Hybrid a Hybrid-Hybrid with Solar Power

You're socially conscious. You drive a Prius, and you love that feeling of self-worth that it gives you. You especially love knowing that everyone else on the road knows how socially conscious you are. Well, now that hybrids like the Prius are getting more popular, it's increasingly difficult to stand out as better than everyone else. It's time to step it up a notch.

A California company called Solar Electric Vehicles can hook your Prius up with some sweet solar panels, increasing your gas mileage by 17% to 29%. It'll make your Prius, Highlander, Rav4 EV, Escape or Sprinter Hybrid even more of a hybrid, making you even more of a high-and-mighty environmentalist. Everybody wins! Or at least you do, and isn't that what really counts?

Product Page [via The Raw Feed]

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Wonder if they will install these on an H2 for me? Sure, no electric motor to run, but if I can get it to crank out enough juice with the alternator, I could put a 60" Plasma in the back for the kids.

How much of an environmental impact does the battery manufacturing process have?

The manufacturing of any vehicles, whether they contain a hundred batteries or one, is about 10% of the lifetime environmental impact of the vehicle - assuming 150K miles. (That is how it was explained to me from an auto manufacturer when I asked this question.) The batteries inside a Prius or any other hybrid last the life of the vehicle, so they have no more negative of an environmental impact than any other part of the vehicle. They can also be recycled and in some cases re-used.

In any case, if you have the extra bucks to buy a hybrid that would certainly help the environment, and extra credit for those using plug-in or solar power. However, many people go hybrid to try to 'save money', which generally will not happen until gas starts hitting four bucks a gallon. (Which it may do shortly.)

Of course, moving closer to your place of employment, going into the office less often, taking public transportation, riding a bike, or walking are even better for the environment than driving a hybrid. That 'moving closer to your place of employment' is a key one that is being lost in the McMansion suburbia that is modern America, unfortunately.

And then there is the carbon impact of the McMansion's themselves ...

Oh, okay. I'll shut up now.