Toyota Researching Magnesium for Next Battery Beyond Lithium

Ann Arbor technical center woking on magnesium-sulfur in complement with other chemistries being investigated in Japan.

Published: 14-Jan-2011

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest seller of hybrid autos, said it’s developing a magnesium battery that holds twice the energy of lithium-ion cells as automakers seeks better ways to power electric cars.

The company’s technical center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is working on the magnesium-sulfur battery, complementing development of other future electric-power chemistries at Toyota labs in Japan, Jeffrey Makarewicz, the engineer managing the U.S. project, said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“Going from nickel-metal hydride to lithium ion, you essentially double the energy capacity,” he said. “Lithium ion theoretically, under ideal conditions, has a capacity of about 2,000 kilowatt hours. That’s still not enough to really make a very competitive battery that’s necessary for future plug-in, electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.”

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