Toyota Prius Will Continue to Use NiMH Battery Packs, For Now ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Toyota Prius Will Continue to Use NiMH Battery Packs, For Now

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Toyota Prius Will Continue to Use NiMH Battery Packs, For Now

Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive BadgeToyota confirms the next generation Prius will come with a nickel metal hydride battery (NiMH), just as the previous generation does now. But the next generation will cut the price and size of the hybrid system in half.

"When we went from the first-generation Prius to the second-generation, we did the same thing," Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto, in charge of Toyota's research and development, told reporters in Tokyo. "... Lithium-ion is going to take some time."

Toyota has had issues with developing Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries for their next generation hybrids. In previous reports, they have noted that Li-Ion "just aren't ready."

Those problems have led to delays in producing the next generation Prius, which was expected to come with the new battery type. Instead, Toyota has reportedly gone back to NiMH. Toyota has said all along the launch date has not been delayed since they never had a launch date to begin with.

Other news: Toyota is looking to design all future hybrids with some instantly recognizable detail which would announce this car is a hybrid. One possibility: a unique front grille.

Okamoto noted that while diesel engines are popular in Europe "There's really no reason to bring diesel cars (to the Japanese market)." Okamoto believes the next generation hybrids will be just as good, if not better than today's diesels even on the highway. Although he did concede that diesels were "inherently better suited" for long distance cruising.

Honda and Nissan are betting otherwise when it comes to diesels, but both sides of the issue may be biased by the domination Toyota has had so far in the hybrid vehicle marketplace.

Source: Toyota to halve hybrid price, size for next Prius | News | Market News | Reuters

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