TOKYO May 19 Toyota Motor Corp is
planning to increase production of lithium-ion batteries by six
times, as the automaker prepares to eventually use them in its
flagship Prius gasoline-electric hybrid cars, the Nikkei
business daily reported on Sunday.
Currently, most of Toyota's hybrid vehicles use nickel-metal
hydride batteries but the automaker is planning to make more
cars with lithium-ion batteries, which can be made smaller and
lighter, thus enhancing fuel economy, the Nikkei said without
It said Toyota and Panasonic Corp would build a new
production line at a cost of about 20 billion yen ($194
million). Their joint venture will increase lithium-ion battery
output capacity to 200,000 units a year, the paper said.
"Taking into consideration the demand for lithium-ion
batteries, (the joint venture) is considering producing them at
its Omori plant," Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai told Reuters.
He declined to comment on whether the next generation Prius
would use a lithium ion-battery.
Toyota said last month it had sold more than 5 million
gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles as of the end of March since
they first went on sale in 1997.
Its Prius series accounted for about 70 percent of that,
making it the most popular hybrid model in the automotive
Globally, Toyota sold 1.2 million hybrid vehicles in 2012,
the first time it sold more than 1 million hybrids in a single