Yesterday the Associated Press reported that Toyota is secretly developing a car that will be completely powered by solar energy, citing a story in Japan's Nikkei newspaper. All Cars Electric searched the Nikkei archives and was unable to find any such story.
Here's what we know today: Toyota currently uses solar panels at several manufacturing plants and warehouses including the Tsutsumi, Japan plant which makes the Prius. The solar power satisfies half of that plant's energy needs. There has been speculation that Toyota will incorporate solar panels into the 2010 Prius to power its accessories, but not for moving the vehicle.
A story published in July of this year by the Wall Street Journal reported that Toyota's home building division was "testing an electricity-monitoring system in its homes that would charge the vehicle during off-peak hours to keep utility bills low, while the car's battery can serve as an electrical backup, powering the home during blackouts."
Toyota is no stranger to solar technology, but the extent to which that technology will be used to move a future vehicle is unknown. We'll continue to follow this story and offer any relevant updates we can find.
Sources: Green Car Advisor, Wall Street Journal