Toyota Testing Solar Prius In Quest For Car You'll Never Need To Plug In

Toyota testing solar Prius in quest for car you'll never need to plug in

TOKYO — Inspired by new ultra-thin solar panels developed for satellites, a project led by Toyota is experimenting with a sun-powered Prius that it hopes will one day require no plugging in. In the Japanese government-funded demonstration project, Toyota engineers fitted solar panels designed by Sharp Corp to the hood, roof, rear window and spoiler to see how much juice the sun can generate. The electricity from the panels goes directly to the drive battery, so the Prius can charge while moving or when parked. On a good day, the charge can be sufficient for up to 35 miles of travel, more than the 29 miles driven a day by the average American, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. But the performance drops off quickly if it is cloudy or even when it's too hot out. If used in real-world driving in those conditions, the Prius would have to be plugged in to recharge. Toyota has experimented with solar panels on the Prius for years, but these new solar cells are super-slim — just 0.03 millimeters — making them malleable enough to form-fit to the body of a car. The engineers needed to create a buffer between the car and the cells to protect them, so the actual solar panel modules are closer to a centimeter thick. The trunk of the car is filled with batteries for the solar panels, adding extra weight of around 180 pounds. Making the entire package lighter and bringing down the extremely high costs are among the biggest challenges for the technology, said Satoshi Shizuka, Toyota's lead engineer on the project, adding that commercialization likely remained "years away".

Testing Stores Without Cash Registers

Testing stores without cash registers

Japan will raise its consumption tax to 10 percent from 8 percent in October, though some items will be unaffected by the change. This is causing problems for some smaller retailers who will have to juggle with dual tax rates at the cash register. Technology company NTT Data has a possible remedy for this headache: ditch the cash register entirely.

NTT Data opened an experimental store to test the system in Tokyo.

Next-gen Acura Tlx Spied Testing In Heavy Camouflage

Next-gen Acura TLX spied testing in heavy camouflage

We're sure you all remember that stunning Acura Type S Concept from yesterday. Acura said it's meant to influence the next-gen TLX's design, and lo and behold, here is the next-gen TLX. Of course, Acura has no intentions of letting us see the production car anytime soon, so we're treated to a heavily cladded prototype in the photos here. Looking at it in profile, the camouflaged car looks a whole lot like the Type S Concept we saw yesterday. The short rear overhang is similar, but the front of the production car looks like it hangs out over the front wheels a little further – it still shares the concept's overall long-hood/short-deck proportions, though. The roof tapers down into the decklid at a shallow angle, similar to the concept car. We're sad to see the same quad exhaust isn't protruding from the rear bumper of this tester. Instead, it gets a dual exhaust with wide, rectangular outlets on both sides. We think the car we're looking at here is likely a regular TLX, and not the spicy Type S variant most likely seen last year. There's one interior photo our shooter was able to snag, showing a similar infotainment screen as that used in the new RDX, something we fully expect for the production car. That touchpad system is far superior to Acura infotainment systems of the past, but it still isn't perfect. An analog tachometer is visible off to the left, indicating that the regular TLX trims probably won't introduce a fully digital instrument cluster. Not that we'd expect that; even the new RDX maintains analog gauges in its top spec. However the TLX story plays out, it won't hurt if the production car looks just like the well-received Type S Concept. It's unclear how long we'll have to wait to see the car in full, but we'll keep you posted.

Toyota Testing An Electric Car With A Solar Roof That Can Charge Itself

Toyota Testing An Electric Car With A Solar Roof That Can Charge Itself

The problem with electric cars is that they usually take a while to charge. Even fast charging still cannot compare to the speed it takes to refill a car with gas. We imagine that eventually there could be a point in time when we get used to charging times or when charging times drop, but until then, it seems that Toyota is exploring a new electric car concept.

As you can see in the photo above, Toyota is experimenting with a new electric car concept that comes with solar panels built into the roof, bonnet, and boot of the car. What this means is that as the car drives, the solar panels will be capable of drawing power from the sun, which in turn keeps the car’s battery charged.

Google App For Android Testing A Way To Share Your Search With Others

Google App For Android Testing A Way To Share Your Search With Others

Despite Google being so easy and straightforward to use, people still like to ask questions that they can easily Google the answer for, but we get it, sometimes older users might not be familiar with the process and the good news is that Google is testing out a way for users to easily share their searches.

This new share feature seems to be part of a recent update to Google beta app on Android, where as you can see in the screenshot above, there is a new Share button. This means that users can tap on it and share it with other people via messages, email, and so on. Prior to this, users could share search by copying the URL.

Youtube Is Testing A New Way Of Displaying Comments On Android

YouTube Is Testing A New Way Of Displaying Comments On Android

Image credit – Tushar Mehta/XDA Developers

Most of us have used the YouTube app on our phones. One of the ways to view the comments on our phones is by scrolling all the way down. This isn’t the most convenient way of viewing comments, but according to a report from XDA Developers, it appears that the company is testing out a new way of displaying comments on the Android app.

2021 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Spied Out Testing In Public

2021 Toyota Tundra hybrid spied out testing in public

A new Toyota Tundra is around the corner, and our spy shooters think they caught a hybrid model out testing. We previously wrote about a rumor that the truck would get a hybrid powertrain, but there was no evidence of it at that point. Now, we feel a bit more confident that Toyota is at least testing the Tundra with a hybrid powertrain.

The photographers say they heard the hum of the electrics, followed by the noise of an engine kicking on around 25-30 mph on multiple occasions while tailing the truck seen here. Our previous story speculated that Toyota could use a hybridized version of the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 we saw make its debut in the Lexus LS500. Another possible powertrain option could also be borrowed from the LS500h. That one uses a naturally aspirated V6 and an electric motor for a total system output of 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. If it's the former, we'll expect significantly more power, with the powertrain likely being considered for a flagship version of the truck. Our guess would put a hybridized version of the twin-turbo V6 at about 450-500 horsepower.

Next-gen 2021 Kia Sorento Spied Testing In The Alps

Next-gen 2021 Kia Sorento spied testing in the Alps

Kia just launched the new three-row Telluride into the world, but that doesn't mean its original seven-passenger model is going away. Far from it. The camouflaged vehicle you see here is the next-generation Sorento caught testing in the Alps while undergoing some strenuous trials. One of those happened to be towing a BMW X5, as seen in the photos.

Due to the heavy amount of cladding and wrappings, it's difficult to pick out specific styling elements. However, we imagine the front fascia is going through a massive change up. It's tough to say what direction they're heading, but the openings do mimic what we see on the vehicle today. The current Sorento doesn't have an upright, tough appearance, and the prototype we see here doesn't appear to be a massive change in the status quo. Kia made the Telluride its big, butch crossover, so differentiation with that SUV is most likely necessary.