Despite the fact that many of its competitors are racing to introduce lithium-ion-powered gas-electrics, Toyota appears content to stick with NiMH batteries for its conventional hybrids. Toyota, the worldwide hybrid sales leader, explained that its decision to stay with the tried-and-true battery type comes down to NiMH's advantages over li-ion technology in this particular application. The automaker suggests that the NiMH's shorter recharge times and better discharge capacity are more advantageous in a hybrid vehicle than the lithium-ion's higher energy density.
Shinzo Kobuki, senior managing director of Toyota's battery technology, recently told Automotive News that, "The improved efficiency from converting to lithium ion batteries from nickel-metal hydride is at best one percent to two percent in the vehicle's performance." However, Toyota will turn to li-ion technology for its upcoming plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, but it remains confident that NiMH batteries will continue to power its conventional hybrids for at least the next ten years. Hat tip to Dan!