Beginning this fall, used hybrid batteries that would otherwise be recycled will get a second life in Yellowstone National Park. 208 nickel-metal hydride batteries are being retired from the Toyota Camry Hybrids they once helped power and will become part of an off-the-grid energy system at Yellowstone's remote Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus. The Lamar campus provides field seminars and other education and research in the northeastern corner of the park.
Panasonic's standing in the plug-in and hybrid battery production industry has zoomed ahead like a Tesla Model S taking off from a standstill. That's appropriate because the Japanese company's relationship with the California-based automaker has been the primary reason for its growth, which looks like it will continue to be rapid.
If rumors are to be believed, big changes are in store for the next Toyota Prius. UK outlet Auto Express recently spoke with a Toyota engineer who leaked details concerning the development of the popular hybrid's successor. According to that engineer, "The next Prius will redefine the hybrid as we know it."
Electric cars have been with us since the very beginning of the automobile age and from that time until now, its most important component has been the battery. It stores energy chemically until it is needed to create the electricity that powers a vehicle's motor. There have been different types of batteries over the years but none have had the practicality or popularity of the very first rechargeable one, the lead-acid battery.
While many other car-makers (with the notable exception of Toyota) are jumping on the lithium ion bandwagon for new hybrid models, Honda will stick with nickel metal hydride for now. Honda President Takeo Fukui told Automotive News that lithium ion batteries are not yet reliable or durable enough for high volume applications. When Honda debuts a new dedicated hybrid model early next year to take on the Prius, it will continue to use nickel metal hydride batteries.
According to Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Toyota is going to postpone the launch of its next generation Prius. Originally planned for fall 2008, the release has been pushed back to spring 2009. This will be the third generation of the popular hybrid-only model, and it was expected that we'd see the first use of lithium-ion batteries in this new model. Toyota, however, has apparently decided to stick with the nickel-metal hydrides, and delayed the launch of the new car until further development could be