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Solar Powered Priuses On The Way?

Green-friendly Nyack has more than its share of solar panels and Priuses. Don’t be surprised if you see both combined in the near future.

Toyota plans to add solar panels to the Prius as early as next Spring, says the Japanese newspaper Nikkei. The sun soaking option, initially available on high end models, will offer solar panels on the roof to supply some of the 2-5 kilowatts of power used to run the air conditioner.

Toyota has promised to offer a hybrid option for all of its model soon after 2020. The Prius was introduced in 1997 and has since sold more than one million vehicles worldwide with plans to sell a million hybrids a year sometime after 2010. The carmaker intends to produce about 450,000 Priuses at home in 2009, up about 60 percent from 2007. The car was redesigned in 2003, and a third generation has been widely expected to appear soon. Toyota is also pursuing an aggressive strategy for ecological production by using solar panels and other technology at its plants.

Kyocera Corporation, which has a solid track record of providing panels for homes and factories, will supply the panels. “It’s more of a symbolic gesture,” said one source, who asked not to be identified. “It’s very difficult to power much more than that with solar energy.”

Closer to home, state officials have been encouraging purchase of hyper-green cars by offering E-Z Pass “green pass” discounts on the Thruway to Prius and Honda Civic owners.

Sources: Int’l Herald Tribune, CNET, The Guardian, Forbes

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