Toyota has reportedly developed a way to produce its hybrid and electric vehicles without using scarce and expensive rare earth metals.

Japan’s Kyodo News reports Toyota – the world’s largest manufacturer of hybrid vehicles – could have the technology ready for full-scale production within two years.

Toyota is understandably keeping it cards close to its chest, and has not revealed anything about its future powertrain technology. A Toyota spokesperson told Reuters the company is continuing its research into rare earth metal substitutes but at this stage has no timeline on when new components could hit the market.

Two of the metals – neodymium and dysprosium – are commonly used in the magnets of electric motors and are increasingly sought after as the demand for hybrids and EVs grows around the world.

China currently produces more than 95 per cent of the world’s rare earth metals and has recently revealed its intention to limit exports, fearing depletion of its natural resources. China’s hesitancy has forced hybrid manufacturers like Toyota into overdrive to find alternatives to rare materials. Japan currently accounts for approximately one third of the world’s rare earth metal consumption.




  • tsport100

    Considering Toyota bought a $60 Million equity stake in Tesla Motors in October 2010 and Tesla exclusively use AC Induction motors, which are made from nothing more exotic than copper and steel, there seems little need for Toyota to burn R&D funds looking for rare earth replacements.

    • Robj

      Do you even know what you are talking about? Are you an R&D engineer??

      • tsport100

        Yes I am as a matter of fact!!! 

        • Guest

          The rare earths this article discusses are the battery materials, tsport100. Not the motors. You know, like lithium (70% of the earth’s stores are in Bolivia, I believe)

          • Philthy

            Read the article again:

            Two of the metals – neodymium and dysprosium – are commonly used in the magnets of electric motors and are increasingly sought after as the demand for hybrids and EVs grows around the world.
             

  • Ivovhp

    God bless Toyota!

    • Ben

      There is no God.. Get over it!

      • Linkolnza

        How can you be so sure?? If you believe that America doesnt exists, it doesnt make America to disappear from the earth… your belief lies only in your private world.. things wont matter just because you dont believe in them.. be Mature buddy.. Grow up !!

        • Tom

          Yes, but there is ample evidence that America exists, as opposed to a god of some description. Hence, your analogy is spurious. 

  • klowik

    I’ve read about this on an article regarding the unfinished work of Michael Faraday working on a AC motor without using rare earth metal which Toyota has finally cracked the code which resulted in a simpler and lighter, smaller (the size of water melon) motor which works better and produce much much more power than the existing design…I hope Toyota will bring the next generation of Hybrid or Electric cars sooner with much lower price.

  • Ray

    @klowik: do you still have the article? Thanks