Van Nuys Toyota shoppers, rejoice… eventually. The Toyota Research Institute just announced a major ($35 million) initiative into electric battery research. That should be welcome news to you, just like it is for all of us at Keyes Toyota. Here’s why.
Fuel economy standards are getting more stringent worldwide. So are emissions standards. In order to stay ahead of the curve, the Toyota Motor Company is putting more effort into ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicles) like the Toyota Mirai, which produces no CO2 emissions when it runs, as well as PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles) like the , which produces emissions only when the gas engine is running.
Because they rely in whole or in part on electric motors, they manage to stay ahead of both economy and emissions targets. But there’s another reason this initiative is important: the current battery technology in Toyota hybrid cars is about four decades old. The lithium ion battery pack is better than it was, but is still big, heavy, and is likely reaching the upper limits of its capacity. New designs and new materials (like magnesium) will lead to lighter, longer-lasting, higher-capacity batteries that are even better than what’s available now.
The Toyota Motor Corporation has plenty of help in this effort. Besides the company’s TRI partners (Stanford and MIT), the’ve also enlisted the help of SUNY Buffalo, the University of Michigan, the University of Connecticut, and UK-based material science company Ilika.
We’re used to cosmetic changes in new Toyota cars like the . But some changes point to something deeper — an evolution, if you will, of Toyota cars, trucks, and SUVs. To see where that evolution has taken Toyota vehicles, and where those vehicles can take you next, visit your Van Nuys Toyota dealership. Keyes Toyota is located at 5855 Van Nuys Blvd in Van Nuys, CA.