Auriga Leader is the world's first solar-power-assisted car carrier
For those Prius buyers who might feel somewhat guilty about their car being shipped all the way from Japan, Toyota is working on a solution. The world’s first solar-power-assisted car carrier, the Auriga Leader, is outfitted with 328 solar panels that can generate up to 40 kilowatts. To learn more about the 60,000-ton vessel, contracted exclusively to Toyota Motor Corporation by shipping company NYK Line, watch the video embedded below.
The panels are able to reduce the load on the ship's auxiliary engines, but not actually propel the boat. "This is the first ship to direct the solar power into the ship's main electrical grid," said Brian Mason, national manager of marine logistics and export for Toyota Motor Sales USA told the LA Times. "It's helping all of the time, and its helping with everything, like the ship's thrusters and the hydraulics for the steering gear." It is calculated that array that the panels provide about 10% of the energy used by the Auriga Leader while she it is docked.
It's important to note that not all Prius cars are being transported on the Auriga Leader. Toyota still plans on manufacturing the Prius in Mississippi once the US market recovers.