by Lisa Zyga Prius flower, July 20th, 2009 , PhysOrg.com
As part of Toyota’s national marketing campaign for the third generation Prius launch in 2010, the company is “planting” giant solar-powered flowers in urban areas. The flowers generate electricity and provide free Wi-Fi for anyone passing by. Meant to represent the Prius theme of “Harmony between Man, Nature, and Machine,” the 18-foot flowers have solar cells behind their petals and at the base of the stem. The generated electricity travels down the stem to plastic green benches with 110-volt outlets. Each of the five flower provide room for up to 10 people to sit while charging their cell phones, laptops and other devices. Currently appearing in Boston, the solar flowers will later travel to New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The flowers operate daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.
In addition to the flowers, Toyota is also demonstrating solar ventilation bus shelters in some cities. The shelters feature solar panels on the roof that operate fans and circulate air within the shelter. This system serves as a model of the Prius’ solar-powered ventilation system, which uses solar panels on the roof to power a fan that ventilates the car when parked in the sun.