Toyota To Increase NiMH Production Capacity To 1.4 Million Packs For Hybrids


Current Prius Plug-In Hybrid with lithium-ion batteires

Current Prius Plug-In Hybrid with lithium-ion batteries

Typically, we observe production capacity of lithium-ion batteries, as those are used in most of today’s electric cars, but to have good reference it’s beneficial to check what is happening with NiMH too.

Recently, Toyota Motor Corp.’s subsidiary Primearth EV Energy Co. announced that will increase production capacity for nickel metal hydride batteries in Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan.

In less than a year, capacity should grow by a few hundreds thousand packs for hybrid cars to 1.4 million annually.

At such a level of sales, even the tiny battery packs means that Toyota consumes more than 2 GWh a year.

According to the article, Primearth EV Energy sales for fiscal 2013 amounted 150 billion yen, which is almost $1.5 billion.


Category: Toyota


16 responses to "Toyota To Increase NiMH Production Capacity To 1.4 Million Packs For Hybrids"
  1. David Murray says:

    This is actually a disappointment. I was hoping Toyota would move to Lithium and look to making more PHEV products.. Apparently they are still only interested in traditional hybrids.

    1. Joshua Burstyn says:

      More evidence that Toyota’s previous pioneer spirit has waned in favour of leveraging existing intellectual property and production lines.

    2. sven says:

      I’m wondering if Toyota aiming to increase hybrid penetration in developing countries, which are usually a generation behind in automotive tech (especially safety standards), don’t have EV incentives/tax-credits, and don’t have the purchasing power or per capita income to buy an unsubsidized BEV/PHEV with a Lithium Ion battery.

      Toyota is really good at bringing down costs for parts and manufacturing. Does anyone know what is Toyota’s current production cost for its NiMH batteries?

    3. My thoughts, exactly.

  2. sven says:

    I hope this doesn’t mean that the next gen Prius is going to keep using NiMH batteries. Increasing NiMH production when the next gen of the top selling car which uses NiMH batteries is about to be released seems to indicate that the next gen Prius will not use Lithium Ion batteries. Or maybe Toyota will be putting all the additional NiMH batteries into their new fuel cell cars. 😀

  3. May says:

    NiMH battery could be used by Toyota for 48V micro hybrid implementation at a larger scale in Toyota car production (more than 9 million vehicles).

    A 10KW 48V Integrated starter generator can lead to a good improvement in efficiency with a much less cost than a Full Hybrid.

  4. DaveMart says:

    I was shocked when I looked properly at the batteries in the Toyota FCEV, which is apparently identical to that in the Prius, and that in the Hyundai FCEV.

    Both have to do pretty similar jobs to that they do in a hybrid, which is why Toyota use the same pack.

    The weights have nothing at all to do with the weight for BEVs.

    The Toyota using NiMH is 1.3kwh, develops 21kw, and weighs around 100lbs, or around 45kgs

    The Hyundai lithium polymer battery is 0.95kwh, 24kw, and weighs 47kgs!

    (pgs 4,18)

    So it should not be assumed because lithium is far more suitable for BEVs and PHEVs that the super reliable, long lifetime and high cycling NiMH are dead and done! 🙂

  5. Cavaron says:

    Production capacity for BEV suitable LiIons has to grow. More NiMhs for Hybrids is ok imho. Didn’t expect much from Toyota regarding BEVs or better batteries, there course is directed to FC. But there are many cliffs on that course.

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      The arc of automotive history is increasingly bending toward BEVs being a major component of every manufacturer’s lineup, regardless of how successful they are in foisting FCEVs on the public.

      Not all companies have received the memo yet, but they will.

  6. Spec9 says:

    Ugh. Another reason to not buy from Toyota. They should really be moving away from NiHM . . . it is too heavy and too toxic.

    1. Mart says:

      NiMH did a good enough job in the Gen I RAV4 EV, as well as GM’s EV-1, giving over 100 mile range in both vehicles. If cost is competitive with lithium, it might be used in BEVs.

      1. Mart says:

        To correct myself, EPA estimated range on the Gen I RAV4 EV (revised, combined) is 78 miles. At least comparable with the current lithium vehicles available.

      2. Spec9 says:

        It isn’t really cost competitive for anyone but Toyota. Toyota paid a lot of money for some long-term contracts that got them relatively cheap NiMH batteries. But for most new vehicles, NiMH just does not make sense. It works for conventional hybrids but for PHEVs and pure EVs, it is too heavy.

  7. Just_chris says:

    I think that we should not loose site of the fact that the lions share of the heavy lifting in terms of petrol consumption reduction has been due to improvements of conventional and hybrid vehicles.

    I am disappointing that Toyota aren’t moving faster, I would have loved to see them offering a plug on their full range of hybrids (Yaris, C, V, Camry, and all the Lexus models) but investing in more hybrid capacity rather than introducing a new line of big petrol engines is still a step in the right direction.

  8. Mikael says:

    Tesla is today using somewhere around 2,6 GWh of batteries per year. And will at the rate of somewhere around 4 GWH per year after the current production line updates and re-tooling.

    Even if you want to go with hybrids and have a larger number of cars sold with the system than PHEV’s and BEV’s you could still match a tiny new company like Tesla if you’re the second largest car manufacturer on this planet.

  9. +1 Mikael

    Toyota is the only manufacturer to put such small batteries in their PHEV.

    Consumers will figure this out. Each 10 miles of range takes 3.5 kWh in batteries. At Nissan’s recently published retail price for their battery, that’s only $970.

    Part of that extra cost is offset by larger incentives at both the state and Federal level because the agencies in charge of cleaner air have identified a clear benefit from a battery big enough to give you 100-120 mpg.

    Even without incentive, the breakeven point on the cost of each 10kW cost is driving only 8,083 miles. So if you’re driving even an extra 673 miles per year on gasoline, they bigger battery pays for itself in cost alone, environmental benefits aside. Not to mention far better NVH for all those extra electric-only miles.

    Really pretty hard for Toyota to argue convincingly for the virtues of small plug-in hybrid batteries.