Toyotaplans to add solar panels to its popular Prius hybrid early next year to power the vehicle's air conditioning, a newspaper report said on Monday.
As part of a complete design makeover, the Prius will be fitted with rooftop solar panels on its high-end models, the Nikkei economic daily said without naming sources.
If it happens, Toyota, in a close race with General Motors for the title of the world's top carmaker, would be the first major carmaker to use a solar power generation system on a mass-produced vehicle.
Toyota rolled out the Prius in 1997 as the first mass production petrol-electric hybrid. It was redesigned in 2003 and a third-generation Prius is widely expected to come soon.
Toyota declined to confirm the Nikkei report.
"We cannot comment on our product planning," a company spokesman said.
The Nikkei said the solar panels on the roof would supply part of the power needed for the vehicle's air conditioning.