Toyota hasn’t provided details, but global media outlets, including the Japanese daily newspaper, The Nikkei, report the manufacturer’s highly successful Prius hybrid will include solar-powered air conditioning in its 2010 models. The solar panels on the roof of the new Prius model will provide two to five kilowatts of electricity, according to the newspaper.
Toyota plans to purchase the panels from Japanese electronics maker Kyocera. The panels would produce approximately the same kilowatts as a rooftop solar array on a typical house.
Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco declined comment.
The Prius is currently the most successful hybrid vehicle. In the United States, Toyota sold more than three times as many Prius models in 2007 than any other manufacturer. The Prius is also the commanding hybrid sales leader through the first six months of 2008.
Toyota’s success with its hybrid has prompted the manufacturer’s promise to offer hybrids in every model in its line-up soon after 2020.
Toyota has sold more than a million Prius models during the past decade and is planning to sell a million hybrids a year sometime after 2010.
Solar panels are already available on some vehicles, including as an option of Audi’s luxurious, all-option A8 W12, a $140,000 non-hybrid that averages between 12-18 mpg and has a 450-horsepower engine.