Toyota Allegedly Developing Solar Car: A Case Of Too Much Sake?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
toyota allegedly developing solar car a case of too much sake

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.

Join the conversation
2 of 21 comments
  • Woodgrove Woodgrove on Jan 13, 2009

    Gents, have you seen the Maine University - Solar Black Bear - pickup truck with std EV conversion plus 1kw of solar on the roof - They 'say' they can get the first 10 miles commuting each day on the charge from the solar. I reckon a better vehicle to do a EV conversion and to put a 1 kw array on, would be a light Van like a Toyota HiAce . Take it easy David

  • on Apr 03, 2009

    [...] The Truth About Cars says there is no truth to this story, that it was just lost in translation — see Toyota Allegedly Developing Solar Car: A Case Of Too Much Sake. [...]

  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.
  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”
  • Random1 Pretty excited about this update, I didn't see it available in mine this morning, but any day now... I think only Apple maps will be on the center display, and not Waze yet, but I assume that'll come soon enough. As to the unnecessary Tesla comment above : I'll take the build quality, the looks, and generally normal items that all cars should have over the M3 any day of the week.
  • Jonathan H. The ES production is going back to Japan so it's safe to assume its assembly building will be utilized for the new EV. Seems like a good fit for what will probably be fairly low volume compared to the Camry/Rav4 assembly lines.