The world's leading producer of hybrid vehicles has found another way to make the process of building and delivering vehicles cleaner and greener. Toyota has installed 328 solar panels on the Auriga Leader, a large car carrying vessel that transports Toyota products from Japan to the U.S.

The panels are attached to the top deck of the vessel some seven stories above the water. Their purpose is to offset the pollution created from the massive diesel engines. When docked, the vessel relies partly on solar power to keep certain system running thus reducing diesel fuel usage. The system is said to save about 6 tons of diesel fuel per trip.

During a recent trip, the Auriga Leader was loaded with approximately 6,200 vehicles. Surprisingly, 60 % of the vehicles on board were new 2010 Toyota Priuses. One of the world's greenest vessels carries one of the world's cleanest cars.

The Auriga Leader is not the first vessel outfitted with solar panels and it won't be the last. The ship successfully reduces emissions and the panel system has proved durable enough to make the journey across the ocean.

Large car carrying vessels consume a tremendous amount of fuel, offsetting a little by way of solar power really goes a long way. As this example shows, 12,000 pounds of diesel fuel was saved on a single trip. Now they just need to install a hybrid powertrain into the vessel and pave the way for future car carriers.