Even as most carmakers are hurrying to introduce lithium ion batteries in their models, Toyota Motor Corporation says that it will continue to use nickel-metal batteries for at least 10 more years.
Toyota explained that despite the higher energy density of lithium ion batteries, nickel-metal ones have a shorter recharge time and a greater discharge capacity.
These are the primary advantages in hybrid vehicles. Toyota claims that there won’t be much of a difference when it comes to performance anyway.
In an Autonews report, Shinzo Kobuki, senior managing director in charge of Toyota's battery technology, said that the raised efficiency from converting to lithium ion batteries from nickel-metal hydride is “at best 1% to 2% in the vehicle's performance.”
Kobuki asserted that there will be a progressive introduction of lithium ion batteries throughout the plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle ranges. He added that other companies have avoided nickel-metal batteries because they don't have the capacity to make the production cost effective.
For the last 10 years, Toyota has been manufacturing nickel-metal batteries through its joint venture with Panasonic Corp, Primearth EV Energy CO.
In fact, Toyota has the largest market share in the hybrid electric vehicle battery business. Since the venture was put up in 1996, it has produced nickel metal-hydride batteries and has come up with battery management systems for hybrids and electric vehicles. [via autonews - sub. required]