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solar cell battery charger

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Posted by Bill on June 30, 2007, 12:56 pm

I've seen advertised a solar cell that might be spread under the
windshield which is a car battery charger that plugs into the
cigarette lighter socket.  Anyone use one of these and does a mileage
increase register?


Posted by Ike on June 30, 2007, 1:48 pm

We bought our '04 in Oct '03, and a couple of weeks later the
lines were six months long. As a charmed engineer, I bought and
did everything you can imagine, including building a solar
charger as a backup for the 12V system - which is what the
cigarette lighter socket would be connected to if it were ON
when the car were OFF (it must be modified to achieve that).

Useless. Unnecessary. And for the high voltage system, the
difference in vehicle performance would be unmeasurable unless
you used the entire outer area of the car, and even then it
would be tiny. The way to improve mileage is to

(1) accelerate smartly when nothing's in front of you
(2) avoid using the brake

That's right, keep your foot off the brake... with that mindset,
you drive properly and can get more than the average.

Great car, isn't it?

Bill wrote:

Posted by mrv@kluge.net on July 2, 2007, 8:32 pm

Congratulations on your purchase.  8)

But you had to remind me about how Toyota really screwed up the
Pioneer orders...  <grr!>

Back in 2000 through early 2002, the Prius was only available in the
US through an internet ordering system.  You place your order, and
about 4-5 months later your car would arrive at your specified
dealer.  Cars were delivered to dealers based on where there were
orders, and by the time in the queue.  (You could get one sooner than
that, if someone else in line ahead of you declined their car.)  Early
2002 the internet ordering system was retooled for the RAV4-EV, so the
Prius became a regular off-the-lot purchase (with all the price
negotiations and dealer hassle that involves).

Late spring 2003, Toyota sent letters to all those who had ordered
Prius in the original internet ordering system (who Toyota termed
Prius Pioneers), offering them first pick of the newly redesigned 2004
Prius.  These were also ordered online, in what was called the Pioneer
ordering system.  Orders were placed June-July 2003.

Unfortunately, Toyota pretty much ignored the Pioneer orders, and just
sent out cars willy-nilly to dealers, whether they had a waiting
Pioneer order or not.  A former co-worker of mine walked into a random
dealer and got his 2004 Prius off-the-lot in one of the early
deliveries of Sept. 2003, while I had to wait until mid-Oct. to get
mine (ordered first week of July, 2003) off the list at my dealer.  At
some dealerships, the Pioneer order list didn't get fulfilled until
Dec-Jan, while at other dealerships again people were just walking in
and getting theirs (like the poster above).

What was the point of the Pioneer orders, if Toyota didn't bother to
actually ship them their cars on a timely fashion?  It got them some
marketing/demographics info, but it also got them a lot of frustrated
early adopters...  <grr>

Posted by Michael Pardee on June 30, 2007, 1:57 pm

You don't say whether it is the sedan or the hatchback. I don't know about
the hatchback (I think it's the same) but in the sedan the lighter socket is
disconnected when the car is off. It can be modified to be live, and some
people have used the solar charger you describe to keep the aux battery
charged when they have to park (as in long term parking at an airport) for
more than a week or two. Most modern cars have the same problem - the alarm
system slowly drains the battery.

This affects only the aux battery so no change is seen in fuel economy.


Posted by Dick Byrd on July 2, 2007, 1:11 am

  Charging thru the cigarette lighter only charges the 12 volt battery, and
this would have no effect whatsoever on the 273 volt main traction battery.


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