Dutch Toyota Dealer's Solar Panels Backed up by Recycled Toyota Prius Batteries
Dutch Toyota Dealer’s Solar Panels Backed up by Recycled Toyota Prius Batteries

When it comes to hybrid electric vehicles, Toyota Prius has set the standard, improving fuel economy and reducing emissions.

Building on the success of the Toyota Prius, almost all of Toyota’s lineup is available in a hybrid electric version, including some in the Lexus premium lineup, but Toyota Prius is still the world’s best-selling hybrid. Improving vehicle fuel economy is one way to reduce emissions, but can even the business backside improve its own fuel economy?

One Dutch dealer, who also sells the Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicle, is working to improve its own building fuel economy by adding solar panels to the roof. The Louwman Hague Toyota store’s approximately 1,000 solar panels keep the lights on during the day, reducing the amount of energy drawn from the grid. Adding renewable energy makes good economic and environmental sense for the Toyota dealership, but adding solar power is only part of the plan.

Therefore, it seems fitting that a Toyota Dealer, seller of the world’s most-popular hybrid electric vehicle, the Toyota Prius, ought to itself be housed in a hybrid electric building. The dealership, at least tentatively, will use recycled nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries that have outlived their usefulness in old Toyota Prii. While hybrid and electric vehicle batteries, whether NiMH or Li-Ion (lithium-ion), last a long time, their capacity eventually degrades, which brings up the problem of recycling and reuse. Some have pointed out battery disposal as a potential thorn in the side of hybrid and electric vehicle emissions reduction, but finding a second life for these batteries extends their usefulness for many more years.

Photo credit: Avinash Kaushik / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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