Toyota Motor Corp. said June 11 that it plans to start producing lithium-ion batteries next year as it races against rivals to develop new high-mileage hybrid vehicles. Toyota, seeking to keep its lead in the growing hybrid market amid rising petrol prices, said its joint venture with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. will move into full-scale production of lithium-ion batteries in 2010.
Toyota said it would also step up efforts to development a next-generation battery that can outperform lithium-ion batteries.
Automakers have for years been competing to develop lithium-ion batteries suitable for long distance hybrids, but there have been safety concerns after massive recalls of the same type of battery by laptop computer manufacturers.
Nissan Motor Co. said last month it and NEC Corp. will invest $115 million to mass produce new lithium-ion batteries batteries for electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles. Volkswagen AG has teamed up with Japan's Sanyo Electric to develop a lithium-ion battery for next-generation hybrids.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008