Nissan Motor Co Ltd employed solar cells for the Leaf, its electric vehicle to be released in fiscal 2010.
Solar panels are mounted on the rear spoiler positioned at the rear end of the roof to supply power to in-vehicle devices. Some models of the Leaf will come with the solar panels. The company will exhibit the Leaf at Tokyo Motor Show 2009, which will run from Oct 24 to Nov 4, 2009, in Japan.
Nissan Motor plans to equip the Leaf with a communication module for the third-generation mobile phones. The module can report the state of the vehicle to a datacenter. The user can check the remaining power of the lithium-ion batteries mounted in the vehicle by accessing a Website on a mobile phone and turn on an air conditioner before riding the car by using a handset.
However, to use those functions, some of the in-vehicle devices have to be always in operation to receive orders from a mobile phone even when the vehicle is at a stop. Therefore, Nissan Motor mounted solar panels on some models of the Leaf to supplement power consumed by in-vehicle devices and prevent the distance capable of being traveled from decreasing.
The solar panels are mounted on the spoiler, not on the roof, to make it easier to install them. The spoiler equipped with solar panels can be mounted on the vehicle on an as-needed basis.