Toyota's high-capacity battery plants don't come as a shock

Toyota's high-capacity battery plants don't come as a shock  
Filed under:
News, Technology, Toyota
on 05/25/2008

Brand Toyota makes cars ranging from the simple and cheap Aygo, to the sophisticated and premium Camry luxury sedan. Their concern for the environment was the primary reason behind the development of the Prius and as that concern evolves into something extra large in size, Toyota has upped its pace and has planned to build not one, but two manufacturing units in Japan to produce batteries for its future cars. It will also expand its existing battery plant in central Japan in a move to reach its target of an annual battery output of 1 million units by 2011.

Toyota will invest a total of $673.1 million indicating that this isn't a lame attempt made by the Japanese firm to address the need for hybrids and electric cars. One of the plants is being constructed jointly with Matsushita Electric, the company that is behind the electronics spearhead Panasonic. It will be built in central Japan at the Shizuoka prefecture, where another plant currenly operates producing nickel-metal hydride batteries.

In the initial stages, the nickel-metal hydride batteries manufactured in the new plant, will be used for the next-gen Prius and its current hybrid cars. The Nikkei claims that a second battery plant will be built to serve Toyota's future plug-in hybrid vehicles, which employ lithium-ion units.

Mercedes-Benz is all set to be the first big car manufacturer to produce hybrid cars powered by lithium-ion batteries, when it launches the S400 hybrid sedan next year. We also know that GM will introduce its Volt plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2010, and as per GM's claims, it would have a range of 40 miles solely on the battery operation. Honda announced that it will offer 4 hybrid vehicles by 2015 and Nissan will join the lithium-ion battery party next year.

The future is likely to see more manufacturers entering the world of electric and hybrid vehicles. With oil prices soaring and reaching dizzy heights, manufacturers are up against the wall to make fuel-efficient cars. The battery era at present is tender but with the rapidly growing bandwagon, you can expect to find an electric car in any brand's dealership within the next five years.

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