According to a recent report by Reuters, automotive giant Toyota is investigating alternatives to using rare earth material found in EV components.
Toyota Motor Corp has developed a way to make hybrid and electric vehicles without the use of expensive rare earth metals, in which China has a near-monopoly.
Toyota, the world's top producer of fuel-saving hybrid cars such as the Prius, could bring the technology to market in two years if the price of rare earths does not come down, Kyodo News said, citing a source familiar with the matter.
A Toyota spokeswoman said the company continues to research ways to reduce rare earth usage and has no time frame yet for commercialization.
Rare earth metals like neodymium and dysprosium are used in the powerful magnets in motors that power hybrid and electric cars, and demand is expected to surge as more of the environmentally friendly cars hit the market.
China produces more than 95 percent of the world's rare earth metals. Its efforts to limit exports, citing resource depletion and environmental degradation, have alarmed its customers and trading partners and have sent prices soaring.
Japan accounts for a third of global rare earth demand and is aiming to cut consumption, providing subsidies for recycling and investing in new ways to limit their use.
For more attend Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air USA 2012,where uniquely we reflect the new realities that there are now six key enabling technologies and they are competing in all forms of EV, hybrid, pure electric and land, water and airborne, manned and unmanned. Speakers from ten countries detail the situation in their parts of the world including SYNPER 3 from Singapore, first to fly an electric helicopter recently, showing how up to 35% of helicopter crashes could be avoided with hybrid electric technology. Sun Yat-Sen University China and Germany Trade & Invest detail their national situations. Next generation batteries are covered by Robert Bosch (Bosch Group) of Germany, Oxis Energy UK, IBM USA and others. OLEV Technologies will show how to continuously pick up power, Schneider Electric of France how modern charging infrastructure is a system not boxes. There will be two presentations on supercapacitor breakthroughs - here is the future. See the full picture, with best-in-class speakers from across the whole world - Slovenia to Gibraltar, China to Canada, each carefully chosen by IDTechEx because of their leadership. There are two presentations on agricultural EVs and five on electric aircraft including Boeing and Airbus involvement. Other presenters include BMW (cars etc), Mitsubishi Motors (small commercial vehicles and cars), Daimler AG (commercial and military vehicles and cars) and Toyota (leader in electric forklifts, electric cars and buses but also presenting on its fuel cell vehicle program.) Uniquely, a large number of electric vehicle manufacturers not seen in conventional EV events will present including iRobot Corporation Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs (better known for EVs as robot vacuum cleaners). Mission Motors and two others focus on electric motor cycles. Many manufacturers of industrial, commercial, military, cars and other EVs will be there. Come to this event where you avoid the usual speakers with nothing new to say and meet people new and useful to you without doing a lot of travelling to find them. You can apply for an award.
Also read Electric Motors for Electric Vehicles 2012-2022 and Electric Vehicle Traction Batteries 2012-2022.