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General Motors is forging ahead with lithium ion battery development for both the plug-in hybrid Saturn Vue
and the Chevrolet Volt. Meanwhile Toyota's executive vice president for R&D, Kazuo Okamoto is insisting (subs req'd) that they are still too hazardous for automotive use.

Toyota is still working on getting better performance out of the nickel metal hydride batteries they use in their current hybrids. Plug-in hybrids do more cycling of the battery as they charge and discharge than current hybrids. That puts more strain on the battery and raises temperatures. For now, Toyota is testing plug-in Priuses with higher capacity NiMH batteries and won't give a timeline for moving to lithium. Okamoto also listed cost as an additional factor limiting lithium.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req'd]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota is pathetic. They can't do it so they're going to poison the well for GM, Phoenix, etc. Here's hoping the scare tactics backfire on them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "...Okamoto is insisting (subs req'd) that they are still too hazardous for automotive use."

      Hell, we drive around with tanks full of toxic, highly explosive gasoline and think nothing of it.

      I think that what Okamoto is saying is that it still costs too much to meet acceptable safety requirements. I hope that changes soon.
      • 1 Month Ago
      I think Toyota is chained to Panasonic batteries which can't cut it.
      They should be checking out other companies. Maybe ENAX. http://enax.jp/company_e/topFrameset.htm
      • 1 Month Ago
      Taking a risk by ANY auto maker is big money. Taking a chance on safety is suicide. "Scare tactics" may also be covering their back.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Ironically, Toyota was the first to put a LiIon starter battery in a production car, the
      Vitz, which was sold only in Japan. The Vitz used the battery to automatically restart the engine, as the engine shut off whenever the car stopped. It apparently didn't sell well, and was never exported.

      Toyotas experience with the Vitz may be one reason they are reluctant to use LiIon in any other models.
      • 7 Years Ago
      These negative L-ion press releases from Toyota have me wondering what they are trying to do. It appears that they fear what others may be able to achieve and think that they can use their current lead role as the major leading 'green' company (in the general public's eyes) to convince us that their competitors are developing unsafe products.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Devil is in the details. Which chemistry? Toyota is surely addressing the older, cobalt lithium, while GM is using the (much) different A123 formulation.

      Likely what we see here is Toyota spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to uphold the media's view of it as leader in hybrid technology, while casting GM in the role of reckless upstart trying to get in the game.

      Press releases aside, Toyota is selling thousands of hybrid vehicles while GM is just getting started.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Toyota put its bet on Li(Ni,Co,Al)-based systems because of their high energy density. It is well known that the safety of the Ni-Co system is poor. They should stop generalizing this safety problem. There are many other materials that do not have the same safety issues. Lithium ion is also projected to be lower cost than NiMH once volume is over a few hundred thousand units per year.
      Don't believe what a CEO or VP tells you. They rarely have the technical skill to evaluate subtleties of technology choices. Remember the GM VP trying to sell us fuel cells ?