Toyota to sell solar panel-equipped Prius next year

The Nikkei, Japan’s biggest business newspaper, reports today [JP] Toyota will use solar panels in its next-generation Prius hybrid cars to be sold starting 2009. The company’s Japanese website doesn’t offer any official information so the news is yet to be confirmed.

The redesigned Prius will come equipped with solar panels on the roof, partly powering the air-conditioning system, which needs up to 5kw. According to the Nikkei, Toyota will procure the PV panels from Kyocera.

Toyota is the world’s first major automaker to install solar batteries on vehicles. It is not yet clear whether the solar Prius will be sold outside Japan as well.