Chambéry, France – Toyota and the National Institute of Solar Energy have launched a solar station for plug-in hybrid vehicles close to Chambéry, France. The launch marks the beginning of a large study on the energy convergence between solar energy, building and transport.

Ten Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrids will be tested by using solar charging stations to maximize the solar energy contribution and to minimize the needs in fossil fuel.

Studies show that half the population in France drives less than 16 kilometres each day when commuting between home and work, and that a one-square-metre solar panel can provide the necessary energy on a yearly basis to run a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) for 1,000 km in pure electric mode.

The study will validate these figures by measuring the production of solar panels and the consumption of PHEVs according to different trip patterns over the course of a year. The study will then include a forecast for future electricity purchase tariffs from the electrical grid, while giving priority to the consumption of locally-produced solar electricity, as well as the resale of solar electricity surplus. Finally, a global analysis will quantify the technological and economic benefits achieved, and then simulate the potentials in large-scale rollout.

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