Toyota to produce more Green automobiles
Toyota is preparing to step up production of hybrids, announcing its third plant in Japan for producing batteries that are key components for the green cars. Hybrids reduce pollution and emissions that are linked to global warming by switching between a gasoline engine and an electric motor to deliver better mileage than comparable standard cars. Just last week, it announced that it was building a second such battery plant.
Toyota Motor Corp. has emerged the world leader in hybrids with its hit Prius, which has sold more than a cumulative 1 million vehicles over the last decade. Sometime after 2010, it hopes to sell 1 million hybrids a year.
For that, it needs to boost battery production as Honda Motor Co. and other automakers aim to catch up with their new gas-and-electric hybrids, a technology that is growing in appeal for the world’s drivers as gas prices soar.
The US$291 million plant in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, will be operated by Panasonic EV Energy Co., Toyota’s joint venture with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Set to be running by 2010, the factory will make nickel-metal hydride batteries, with production capacity at 200,000 a year, with start-up production at about half of that.