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Toyota Pursues Solar-Powered Car

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The Associated Press is reporting that Toyota is “secretly” developing a solar-powered vehicle, even as the Japanese company faces its first down year after 70 years of positive growth.

Don’t get too excited just yet, though. Probably the biggest story here is why the AP wrote a story on a potential solar car from Toyota. This is no different than any automaker that has a prototype in the R&D department. Toyota has cultivated a reputation for being on the cutting edge of green technology, and it will gain key expertise when its battery developer, Panasonic, absorbs solar leader Sanyo this year. Still, that does not change the fundamental technical issues of a solar-powered car.

The technology to build such a car exists, no problem. But you have to ask, what kind of range will it have? How much will it cost? Is anyone going to buy a $200,000 car that has to recharge after 35 miles?

In other words, can a solar-powered car be mass-produced and work for the lifestyles of the car-buying public?

We should also state that this report has nothing to do with the more-substantiated rumors that Toyota might integrate small solar panels into a future hybrid to help power some electronic systems.

Report: Toyota Developing Solar Powered Green Car (Associated Press)

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