MendoCoastCurrent, January 1, 2009
Toyota Motor is developing a vehicle that will be powered solely by solar energy in an effort to turn around its struggling business with a futuristic ecological car, a top Japanese business daily reported.
The Nikkei newspaper, however, said it will be years before the planned vehicle will be available on the market. Toyota’s offices were closed Thursday and officials were not immediately available for comment.
Toyota is working on an electric vehicle that will get power from solar cells equipped on the vehicle, and that can be recharged with electricity generated from solar panels on the roofs of homes. The automaker later hopes to develop a model totally powered by solar cells on the vehicle.
In December, Toyota stunned the nation by announcing it will slip into its first operating loss in 70 years, as it gets battered by a global slump, especially in the key U.S. market. The surging yen has also hurt the earnings of Japanese automakers.
Still, Toyota is a leader in green technology and executives have stressed they won’t cut back on environmental research despite its troubles.
Toyota, the manufacturer of the Lexus luxury car and Camry sedan, has already begun using solar panels at its Tsutsumi plant in central Japan to produce some of its own electricity.