• May 30th 2007 at 8:03AM
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Click on the photo for a gallery of high-res images of the Hybrid-X Concept

At the same time that Lithium Technologies is showing off their plug-in conversion of a Toyota Prius comes word from Japan that Toyota themselves are delaying the introduction of lithium batteries to the next generation Prius. Apparently the production hybrid pioneer is not yet convinced of the safety of lithium ion in an automotive application.

The rising rates of quality issues and recalls that Toyota has been experiencing of late may be causing them to be somewhat more cautious about introducing the new technology. Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe had previously indicated that the next-generation Prius would be using lithium ion batteries. So far there is no indication if this means the new Prius introduction will be delayed or they will just continue with nickel metal hydride batteries.

[Source: Winding Road]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is the Lithium Battery Ready for Electric Vehicles?

      In our lithium work at TRU we have proactively studied and read many reports on the readiness of the lithium-ion battery for HEV and EV. Most expert opinion says that in about five years 2013 the technology will be ready and as a result the electric vehicle market will take-off like the proverbial hockey-stick. Yet none of these experts can explain succinctly why they expect this breakthrough to occur. If you have the explanation we would like to have it and I am sure the readers of this forum will too!

      Also if you are a company developing lithium batteries for electric vehicles please contact us at TRU urgently. We are engaged now - January 2008 - in developing a long range 2020 forecast of the lithium market and could include your company in our technical review of electric vehicle battery technology.

      Please contact me through this forum or visit our website trugroup.com. The link to the TRU Group Inc lithium page is http://trugroup.com/Lithium-Battery.html
      • 8 Years Ago
      I hope it hasn't got anything to do with the "Auto Alliance" "Driving Innovation" ( in the wrong direction. )
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let me be the firt to ask all those who have been chastising GM -for using the "excuse" that the LI batteries were not ready- to chime in here.

      Is Toyota full of it? They make a safety "excuse" for not using these batteries; GM made a durability excuse.

      I'm curious as to whether you will now back off on you hair-trigger GM rants or will continue in light of the all-powerful Toyota's statement on LI batteries.

      For full disclosure: I own a Toyota and a Chevy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Usually when a company makes a statement such as this, it makes sense to assume that a new technology is on the horizon.
      Its alittle early to tell but from what I understand this battery technology is being more widely researched.
      The only weakness this technology has is that it doesnt have quite the power storage ability.
      That used to be true with lithium ion at one time.

      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm a big fan of the hybrid technology (I own a Camry Hybrid and average 52 mpg going to work and back), so I want to see it continue to improve, become more affordable, and become available in more models. It doesn't matter to me who is leading the charge, whether it's GM or Toyota, American or Japanese - as long as progress is being made and they roll out a decent product. Competition benefits all of us. So, for me, news like this is a bit of a bummer.

      But, I can understand how Toyota could be a bit gun shy with their recent issues with the Tundra, and not want to force the new technology until it's ready. I hope GM uses this as an opportunity to leapfrog Toyota and keep pushing with the Volt and their planned hybrid rollouts, rather than an opportunity to make an excuse as to why they can't meet consumer expectations. This is your chance, GM. Give me something to be excited about!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I wonder whether the delay has anything to do with Toyota's acquisition 18 months ago of an ownership interest in Fuji Heavy Industries, which is developing a manganese/lithium-ion battery for hybrid applications. When the acquisition was announced, some pointy heads speculated that Toyota was after Fuji's battery technology.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why store energy in expensive and complex batteries? Why wait years and spend $Billions on their development? Why risk explosion, fire and electricution?

      All technologies are comprimizes, however the simplicity in using ordinary compressed air vs. complex, heavy and dangerous electricity storage methods including chemical batteries and hydrogen/fuel cells cannot be overlooked. We can use renewable electricity to compress and transfer non-polluting air right now with and long life carbon fiber tanks won’t explode, cost thousands of dollars each or have a limited lifespan like l-ion batteries. We are also not risking releasing large amounts of greenhouse causing hydrogen into the upper atmosphere or risk explosive flaming meltdown or electrocution associated with high voltages in an accident. I’m sure the EMS teams will be happy with this. This reminds me of GM’s old skateboard tech sans the $Trillions for the lunacy of an all new hydrogen infrastructure. We can have our cake and eat it to without the wait, expense, risk or guilt!

      Instead of using a range-extender generator, we could use range-extender compressors. This should mean less weight and less complexity (no electric motors) thus increasing efficiency and further reducing maintenance. The lack of copper windings in and other “precious” metals should further reduce weight, manufacturing and operating costs. You know, KI.S.S.!

      Here is some more info on the Aircar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0YT4

      It may not be perfect, but with the help of biofuels Aircars could help us off foreign oil quickly, cheaply and safely. Any thoughts?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Toyota is a company that always makes sure that its products are reliable. And Toyota cannot afford to tarnish their green image with even the slightest complaints from the Prius.

      Unfortunately, this is inevitable. Li-ion technology is new and, although very good, still isn't a mature technology. Toyota can't settle for somethng less than perfect to go into their Prius. Oh well...maybe we'll need to wait a year longer.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Cost is a factor normally, but what if the lithium rechargeable battery is good for 12-15 years, doesn't need a cooling system and outlasts the life of the car?

      The A123 battery is "only" good for a couple thousand cycles of charging.

      Altairnano's Lithium Titanate battery has been tested for over 25,000 full charge/discharge cycles and still no degradation of charge! Unfortunately it currently sells for $1.50 -$2.50 per watt hour..because of low volume...but they plan on reducing that to below $1.00 per watt hour in 18 months and then below .50 per watt hour in 36-40 months.

      They currently have their 35 Kw battery in a Sport Utility Truck by Phoenix Motorcars. It runs for 135 miles before charging. And, this battery can be charged in 6-10 minutes. That's key for people who don't buy electric because of lack of range.

      Stock symbol is ALTI and their web site is

      • 8 Years Ago
      Sam , this is good news fo Cobasys i guess .. since they hold most of the Patents on the NI-MH
      They are looking at Li-ion with A123.. for GM..

      I saw mention that you said its Cobasys battery pack in the TWO Mode hybrids by bmw/gm/chrysler vehicles... is that a 300 volt battery .? wonder why they arent saying they are the supplier must be some sort of confidentiality agreement?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Tony- I'm not a proponent. I'm just looking at the entire energy cycle and trying to keep an open mind. I'm looking for that "straight line" to the goal of cheap, clean and safe personal transport.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Tim, I think proponents of the air car need to show some evidence or sit down and be quiet.

      Here's a quote from Wikipedia that seems to sum things up nicely: "MDI claim the production cars will have a range of 200-300km, thereby making it applicable for most daily car use. As of May 2007 a range of just over seven km (five miles) has been demonstrated."
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