Toyota to move beyond rare earths and lithium by 2020?
Is Toyota’s hybrid experience set for big payoffs?
While Toyota has assembled a task force to secure new rare earth metals outside of China, the company has a “long term” plan to eventually move beyond rare earths. For instance, Toyota is in the “advanced” stages of developing non-rare earth-containing inductive motors.
Likewise, Toyota isn’t content with lithium-ion technologies and the automaker believes it could replace lithium within 10 years.
In terms of rare earths, it’s been known for some time that Toyota, as well as the Japanese government, have both been developing alternative supplies of rare earths which are used in motors, cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries and in regenerative braking units for instance. While new deals have recently been struck in Australia, India and the US, for example, the real long term goal is moving beyond rare earths altogether.
In the upcoming RAV4 EV Toyota will use an inductive motor supplied by Tesla that is a separate motor from the inductive motors that Toyota is developing. Toyota is not yet providing a timeline for the release of their new motors and is only saying that the motors are part of a “long term approach” according to the DetroitNews.
And with rare earth supplies dwindling as costs are rising, these new motors can’t come fast enough.
Perhaps even more interesting is the possibility that Toyota could move beyond lithium-ion batteries by 2020. Today, Toyota doesn’t believe that lithium-ion batteries have enough capacity to become a mainstream automotive solution. Thus, Toyota is developing magnesium-sulfur batteries as well as a number of other battery types, including batteries with aluminum and calcium components, as well as lithium-air and metal batteries according to Bloomberg.