Toyota Working on Mass-Market Solar Car
Company believed to be trying to build first mass-market car running soley on sunshine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2009 7:20 AM CST
A solar panel is shown on the roof of Fisker Karma, a luxury plug-in car, at the North American International Auto Show Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008, in Detroit.    (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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(Newser) – Toyota is trying to leapfrog rivals by developing a mass-market solar-powered car on the sly. The futuristic vehicle will get power from solar cells in the rooftop, providing enough energy to power only its accessories initially, reports Hybrid Cars News. The company is thought to be years away from creating a fully solar-powered car, notes the Japanese daily Nikkei.

The global slump has caused Toyota to lose money for the first time in 70 years, but executives say the hard times won't force it to cut back into research on green vehicles. Any Toyota plans for cars that run on sunshine are expected to get a boost when Panasonic, its partner in battery production, completes its takeover of solar panel pioneer Sanyo.