Toyota Working to End Reliance on Rare Earths
VOA Breaking News (Voice of America)
January 17, 2011 at 9:35 am
Toyota Motor Corporation says it is developing a new motor for electric and hybrid cars like the popular Prius which will end its dependence on rare earth minerals from China.
Company officials say the new induction motor will be lighter and more efficient than the magnet-based motor now used in the Prius.
Japanese auto and electronics makers were shocked last year when China effectively halted shipments of rare earths during a diplomatic dispute over the arrest of a fishing captain. More than 95 percent of the minerals on the market currently are mined in China.
China has also been reducing export quotas for the materials, which are used in a range of high-tech products. That has prompted a worldwide scramble to develop new sources for rare earths.