The Toyota Motor Corp. is planning to develop new motors for its future hybrid and electric cars that do not rely on rare-earth minerals.
Engineers in Japan and the U.S. have started work on the new ‘inductive motor’ that's both lighter and more efficient those currently used in its Prius vehicles, according to a John Hanson, a company spokesman.
‘It's a long-term approach,’ claimed Hanson. ‘When you're looking at a geopolitical issue like rare-earth supply, that can lead to developments that create very good solutions.’
The new motor would help Toyota become more independent from the rare earth-minerals, in a market controlled almost totally by China.
In 2012, Toyota will sell a battery-powered RAV4 vehicle with an inductive motor that uses no rare-earth minerals. But The RAV4 EV motor is separate from Toyota's next-generation electric motor project, Hanson claimed.