announced late last week that it would establish a new subsidiary, Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., to make some swanky solar cells. This new variety, known in the biz as CIGS (copper, indium, gallium and selenium -- no, not those other environmentally-unfriendly kind
), apparently require half of the energy needed to produce traditional solar cells. The Japanese plant, which is already under construction, is expected to be fully operational by fall 2007 with an annual capacity of 27.5 megawatts. Maybe if other automakers can lease some of this tech from Honda, those solar-powered rides
will get a bit more budget-friendly -- or at least they might be able to use some of those savings on better industrial design.