Toyota Motor Corp is secretly developing a solar powered green car, the Nikkei reports (via AP).
The electric vehicle is expected to get some of its power from solar cells on the vehicle and can be recharged with electricity generated from solar panels on home roofs. Eventually, the automaker hopes to develop a model totally powered by solar cells.
The Nikkei newspaper did not cite its sources but said it will be years before the green car will be available on the market.
Toyota’s next-generation Prius hybrids will sport solar panels. But the solar cells are reportedly so small they will only generate “part of the two to five kilowatts needed to power the air-conditioning” on the car.
Last September, the automaker announced plans to increase the use of plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics in more vehicle models, starting with a new hybrid vehicle in 2009. Last year, Toyota suspended the completion of its newest plant near Tupelo, Mississippi, amid declining auto sales.