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Toyota plugs solar flowers in Boston

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  July 9, 2009 01:22 PM

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Prius-Solar-Flowers.jpg
(All photos: Clifford Atiyeh/Boston.com)

As part of a national marketing effort for its new Prius, Toyota yesterday planted five solar-powered charging stations in front of the Prudential mall. The solar panels are mounted on pedals of giant metal daisies up to 18 feet tall, and the generated electricity runs through a molded plastic green bench with 110-volt outlets and free wireless Internet.

With June's heavy rain and thick clouds continuing into July, Toyota's stunt is a bit ill-timed to advertise the company's optional solar roof panels on its Prius, which are supposed to power the air conditioner when the car is parked on a hot day. MBTA riders can feel the cool at five solar-powered bus shelters, which feature integrated fans, at City Hall Plaza, the Aquarium, Boylston and Clarendon Street, the Mass. Ave Orange Line station, and Huntington Avenue and Ruggles Street.

Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi and cool breeze will burn out July 19, when Bostonians can again remind themselves of increasing MBTA fares and brick-hard bus seats.

Check back for a review of the 2010 Prius and a special hybrid comparison test coming soon right here.

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This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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13 comments so far...
  1. The flowers are a bit frightening. Invasion of the Body Snatchers-like

    Posted by Anonymous July 9, 09 03:11 PM
  1. Great photos, especially the daisy looking up towards the skyscraper.
    Keep up the good work! Love Boston Overdrive!

    Posted by Halley Booth July 9, 09 06:56 PM
  1. Yeah Syd!

    Posted by Deb July 10, 09 07:30 AM
  1. The idea of solar roof panels to generate air conditioning is a good idea. I think this is a thing long overdue. Why have we not been harnessing the power of the sun and wind for years in bus shelters, etc?

    Posted by CD July 10, 09 11:28 AM
  1. a DISGRACE!

    Posted by BUY A FORD July 10, 09 12:48 PM
  1. Hey Globe, at least get the facts right. The Prius solar panel does not operate the a/c. It only runs a fan to cool the interior when the car is parked in the sun. I'm sure that a quick review of the Toyota marketing material would help your reporting.

    Posted by Eco July 10, 09 04:06 PM
  1. Toyota needs to release the first Solar Hybrid that partially powers the car. It is already possible today. This concept will be the greatest selling auto concept in history. Imagine your car collecting energy all day in the sun- to reduce fuel consumption. The technology is in its infancy now- it will develop into the solution.

    Posted by Dan J July 12, 09 03:33 AM
  1. I think you meant to reference "Day of the Triffids." I agree - they are a bit creepy.

    Posted by Bill Sheehan July 12, 09 08:08 AM
  1. Eco, you're correct that the solar panels on the Prius, by default, help to power fans to ventilate the cabin, but they also help power the A/C when selected off the key fob. Hope this is clearer.

    Posted by Clifford Atiyeh July 12, 09 03:30 PM
  1. I think you mean "mounted on giant metal petals.."

    Posted by dale July 12, 09 11:46 PM
  1. I have an 05 Prius and my Mother owns an 07 Prius, and I have to say that the Heat and A/C are the two things that negatively effect mpg in those models. Even with the A/C full blast, it still gets good MPG, but we get much better MPG in the spring and fall when temperatures are moderate. I am glad Toyota is aware of that and trying to do something in the snazzy 2010 models to help mitigate the drain of environment controls!

    Posted by merilisa July 13, 09 09:52 AM
  1. Clifford, NO solar power is never used to run the a/c. When the A/C button on the key fob is pressed, the a/c is powered by the traction battery for 3 minutes max (if the batter has enough juice). The solar-powered fan just tries to keep the interior near the outside temp, so the a/c may only need to cool the interior down from say 90 degress instead of 120. Furthermore, the solar panels do not even charge the battery, it only runs the vent fan. The battery power used to run the remote a/c is later recovered by running the engine (burning gas) and regen braking.

    Posted by Eco July 13, 09 04:08 PM
  1. Buy a ford? Are you serious? The american car companies are the disgrace, creating bullpoop demand for horribly built cars and trucks (which no one uses to actually do things trucks were designed to do) with abysmal gas economy and poor maintenance records... The american car should go the way of the american made TV and I'll be GLAD about it. Your mindless patriotism is symtomatic of what it wrong with this country, too much red/white/blue and too little innovation/education/intelligence.

    Posted by monkeycaller July 13, 09 10:35 PM
 

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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