The idea of having a remote in-car "hot air" remover has been around for some time, but Toyota has come out with an evolution of that technology. The Big T's next-generation Prius uses the car's battery to power remote activation of the air-conditioner. Not bad!
To be precise, the battery will power the aircon's electric inverter compressor, so you can turn the aircon on as you walk up to the car, it will stay running for up to three minutes prior to getting in the car.
The remote activiation system is triggered by an A/C button on the key fob. The technlogy is combined with solar cells on the car's roof that power a fan to discharge hot air from the car when it is parked (if you're thinking that's a little silly, wait till you get in a cooled parked car and wonder how that happened!).
The idea is to produce a quicker overall cool-down time, thereby saving fuel and enhancing the driving experience.
Toyota has worked out that when combining the solar-powered ventilation (parked) with operating the remote air-conditioning system for just one minute, the Prius can reduce its in-car temperature by more than 40 per cent.
Critics have argued that given the high cost to the environment for producing solar panels, their benefits in the Prius will not be realised.
Do you think this is juts a gimick or are we going to see more of this technology as hybrid cars get more popular.