The model was introduced during this year’s edition of the New York Auto Show in March, but without the very interesting solar roof option.
It appears the optional equipment for the US version of the Prius plug-in hybrid is not coming to the market as a launch option. The solar roof is going to be offered from the get go as an option in Japan and Europe, but not in the United States. Koji Toyoshima, the vehicle’s chief engineer said the plan is to offer the optional kit in United States for both the standard Prius and its plug-in brethren – but only after they manage to surpass the issue of the more stringent rollover crash tests in United States. The solar panels are sitting on reinforced glass sheeting which doesn’t live up to the US rollover crash tests just yet. For now the company has admitted it lacks the necessary technology to laminate the photovoltaic cells in a resin that would cope with a rollover. But they are looking for a solution.
The third-generation Prius was also made available with a solar roof option – but it was only capable of powering the car’s ventilation system when parked. The new generation has an all new system that can deliver power to the battery or provide electricity to the headlights, taillights, power windows, and the air conditioning. According to Toyoshima, the Prius will be 10 percent more efficient with the new solar roof.