The Short:The new Prius brings several new and environmentally friendly upgrades to the table. One of them is called a “Solar Roof” – essentially a solar-powered fan that circulates the air within the cabin while you’re not in it, letting you come back to a cool and comfortable car even on a hot day.
The Long: As the proud owner of a Honda Accord with a leather interior living in Miami, Florida I am fully aware of the amount of heat that accumulates inside a vehicle while it is parked outside in direct sunlight all day. It usually takes setting the air conditioner on the maximum setting, opening the windows, and several minutes for the cabin to cool down to a comfortable level. With Toyota’s third generation Prius, this will no longer be an issue.
The third generation Prius sports a rather new and unique feature. It has the ability to match the vehicle’s internal temperature with that of the exterior while the car is parked. The system, dubbed Solar Powered Ventilation System is an optional accessory that adds a built-in solar panel and set of fans that draw air from the exterior to cool the car while it’s parked. When activated, the system will automatically turn on when the cabin temperature reaches 68degrees Fahrenheit. The neatest thing about this system is that it draws power from solar panels installed on the vehicle’s roof. The system must be activated prior to leaving vehicle.
Among other new features to help maintain the cabin cool is the inclusion of UV reduction glass which protects drivers and interior components from deterioration and a remote AC feature which turns on the AC remotely for a maximum of three minutes prior to entering the vehicle to cool down the cabin further.
I believe this is an option that is long overdue. Like I stated before, living in Miami with any car (especially those with leather interior) can be an excruciating and uncomfortable experience due to the amount of heat trapped in the car and on the seats. I wouldn’t be surprised if more car manufacturers move towards this kind of technology; it is another option they can sell and another option I’m sure consumers would buy.
Would you pay an extra $1,500 to make sure that your car is cool every time you enter it for the next three to five years? I would.