One day after pledging to double its hybrid sales by 2011, Toyota is putting the pieces in place to make sure it has the batteries needed to support its expanded hybrid production. Today, Toyota Tsushu Corp, which is 21%, owned by Toyota, said it is investing in a project to produce more lithium in Argentina. If successful, the project could lock up sizable supply of lithium for hybrid and electric car batteries.
The investment is more than $100 million dollars and the move shows Toyota is think several years down the road to make sure it has the supply needed for its ambitious hybrid plans.
Skeptics will read this and say, so what?
For all the investment in hybrid technology by Toyota and other automakers, industry sales of gas-electric hybrids, plug in hybrids, and electric cars are only expected to top 9% in the U.S. by 2015. That forecast by J.D. Power is one reason many look at the green glow coming from last weeks Detroit Auto Showand yawn.
Toyota knows there are plenty of people doubting the Prius popularity, but it also knows the hybrid remains the best selling green vehicle in the U.S. and the #1 selling car in Japan. Success the company wants to build off of as it locks up future supplies of lithium.
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