Toyota is secretly developing a vehicle that will be powered solely by solar energy in an effort to turn around its struggling business with a futuristic ecological car, a top business daily reported Thursday.
The Nikkei newspaper, however, said it will be years before the planned vehicle will be available on the market. Toyota's offices were closed Thursday and officials were not immediately available for comment.
According to The Nikkei, Toyota is working on an electric vehicle that will get some of its power from solar cells equipped on the vehicle, and that can be recharged with electricity generated from solar panels on the roofs of homes. The automaker later hopes to develop a model totally powered by solar cells on the vehicle, the newspaper said without citing sources.
The solar car is part of efforts by Japan's top automaker to grow during hard times, The Nikkei said.