The new third gen 2010 Toyota Prius comes in four flavors, the Prius II, III, IV, and V each with special options. Anyone considering a purchase who is into solar and lives in a hot place like Las Vegas or LA (and also has a bit of extra cash) might want to consider the new solar sunroof option which is only available on the Prius 3, 4, or 5. We reported on aftermarket solar covers for the Prius last year and were speculating on how it might enhance the car.
The aftermarket solar car roofs are either set to charge the car battery and extend the range of hybrids, electrics, and plugins or power the air conditioner. The actual built in Prius solar sunroof was a bit of a letdown as it only powers a small vent fan. The official Toyota site explains:
The Solar Powered Ventilation System uses an electric fan to draw outside air into, through, and out of the cabin once the inside temperature reaches 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It will lower the cabin temperature to near the outside ambient temperature to help make the cabin more comfortable when reentering the vehicle. It must be turned on prior to leaving the vehicle and cannot perform cooling such as with an air conditioner.
While the solar panels do not power the air conditioner, there is an option to have a remote AC starter, so at least you can get the thing running when your back in range. For more information on the new Prius including a full 2010 Prius review and a breakdown on the adjustable seats follow the links. The image below shows the new solar sunroof option and the price to upgrade your model to include it is ~$4,600