It's been a couple days since The Nikkei reported the possibility of a Toyota solar-powered car. We knew it was bunk then, and now today, Toyota's denying it.
Despite the best efforts of scientists, engineers, and the sun, there just isn't enough energy to exclusively run a car on solar power reliably. The concept floated by the AP's writer, crediting an unnamed source from an old article in The Nikkei, called for a combination of solar cells on the car supplementing the main power source of traditional home-mounted solar cells. But according to All Cars Electric, that's not gonna happen, quoting Toyota spokesperson Jana Hartline who stated “we’re not aware of any such vehicle, planned or otherwise.”
Seems that would be the end the story, but this being the internet, there are no dead dogs, and even if there were, they wouldn't be left to lie. Wired wonders loudly if there isn't even a car concept involved here, but that solar cells are the project themselves. Considering the relatively minuscule amount of power available from car-mounted photovoltaic cells, the general push towards automobile electrification, and the huge investment rival Honda has made in a sprawling solar panel plant in the form of Honda Soltec, we're wondering if this is the real story.
We know Toyota is working on electric vehicles and will be bringing a legitimate EV concept to the Detroit Auto Show in the form of the Toyota EV. Does it make sense to then take one more step and deliver the entire transportation package? It's not inconceivable to offer house-mounted solar panels designed to charge up an EV as an option to buyers who want to completely get the carbon monkey off their backs. Of course all of this is speculation, but it sure makes for interesting net-banter.