We've all heard about the reports that Toyota
has delayed plans to incorporate lithium ion batteries into their hybrid vehicles
due to safety concerns. Toyota has a battery joint venture with Panasonic that produces the nickel metal hydride batteries used in current Toyota hybrids. Panasonic has reportedly been working on lithium cobalt oxide chemistries like those used in consumer electronics batteries. It's not clear yet what direction Panasonic has decided to take with lithium batteries, but they are evidently moving forward. During an end of year speech, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe announced that Panasonic EV Energy was studying what it would take to start manufacturing lithium ion cells for automotive applications. There's no word on when production might actually happen, but at least they are looking at what it would take.
[Source: Toyota, via GreenCarCongress]