The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp plans to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the next-generation Prius to supply part of the 2-5 kW needed to power vehicle auxiliaries, such as the air conditioning system.
The next-generation makeover of the Prius may come as early as next spring, the Nikkei said.
While automakers have used PV panels in concepts, Toyota would become the first major automaker to equip a current production model with such a system.
Toyota is taking design and other matters into account when placing the panels. Such details as the number of vehicles to be made and the price will be hammered out later. It is planning to procure the panels from Kyocera Corp., which has a solid track record of providing panels for homes and factories.
The carmaker intends to produce about 450,000 Priuses at home in 2009, up about 60% from 2007. In addition to a new solar power generation system, it aims to boost sales by offering a redesigned version that improves fuel efficiency through reduced vehicle weight and other steps.