It would be everybody’s dream come true: A car running on nothing else than sunshine. Well, not everybody’s dream maybe. In Saudi Arabia, they have a lot of sunshine, but it doesn’t fit in tankers. “Toyota Motor Corp. 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,” reports AP via Yahoo News. AP says, Toyota is working on an electric vehicle that will get some of its power from solar cells on the vehicle, and that can be recharged with electricity generated from solar panels on the roofs of homes. As a next step, says AP, “the automaker later hopes to develop a model totally powered by solar cells on the vehicle.” Sounds unbelievable? AP says they have it on good authority.
AP names today’s Nikkei as the source. The funny thing is, there is no such article in today’s Nikkei, nor is there one that was published in previous days. A search of both the Japanese and English versions of the Nikkei for “Toyota” and “solar” comes up with nothing. The car doesn’t exist. The Nikkei article quoted by the AP doesn’t exist either.
What is in today’s Nikkei (sub) is a story about advances in construction technologies — of houses. It reads like this: “Homes that can use electric cars as power storage batteries is just one of the new construction technologies expected to receive attention in 2009. Such technology was jointly developed by Tostem Housing Institute Co., which belongs to JS Group Corp, Mitsubishi Corp., the Tokyo Institute of Technology and others. Their final goal is to develop a system whereby electric cars serve as a battery for homes. The cars are to be charged by solar power and less-expensive nighttime electricity, and their stored energy tapped to power homes when necessary. Such a system is seen slashing carbon dioxide emissions.” Granted, the story reads off-the-wall-ish. Don’t blame us, it’s the Nikkei’s official version. There is no Toyota mentioned anywhere. They are talking about charging a plug-in with solar panels on the roofs of houses. Big deal.
A case of too much sake last night for Yuri Kageyama-san, who wrote the article for AP?
The trouble is: The story is making headlines around the world, raising hopes for something that doesn’t exist. Not even in the news story that is quoted.