Nikkei reports Toyota developing solar-powered car

According to the top business daily, The Nikkei, Toyota is developing a new vehicle which will be a totally solar-powered car. However, it will not be 100% solar in the sense of all solar panels being atop the vehicle itself - some of the extra power required for efficient running will come from solar panels on one's house! Eventually, though, the automaker wants to make the vehicle completely independently solar-powered.

This aggressive move from Toyota follows the automakers first operating loss December, in over seven decades, owing to the ongoing recession period. If Toyota succeeds in its drastic new designs, the car industry would certainly be turned on its head. In fact, the company's partnership with Panasonic Corp., gives it an advantage in terms of taking on the solar market. Further, Panasonic's acquisition Sanyo Electric Co., to be completed next year, would give it considerable solar expertise.

The news of Toyota's first commercial solar concept car comes amid its announced plans to outfit some of its forthcoming Prius cars with smaller solar panels for powering the onboard electronics. The company is pushing ahead with its solar plans despite its economic struggles.

The company's Tsutsumi plant in central Japan - involved in the production of Lexus luxury cars and Camry sedans - will be equipped with solar panels to provide part of its operating power. According to Toyota, the panels - with surface space of 60 tennis courts - would be able to produce electricity sufficient for powering 500 homes, thereby resulting in big savings in both power costs as well as emissions.