Why Toyota Still Uses Ancient Nickel Metal Hydride Technology In Hybrids
Toyota plans on having all of its vehicles in a hybrid form by 2025. Included in the 2021 model year is the Toyota Sienna Hybrid option. Toyota now only offers Sienna in a hybrid choice but with or without AWD-e (all-wheel drive, electric).
As an avid hybrid owner and a family man, owning one of these new hybrid vans is a no-brainer, other than a tiny issue. Toyota is still using NiMH battery tech. While this is frustrating, all hope is not lost. I believe I know why Toyota uses it still and why you should feel good about getting one.
Why Toyota Still Uses Ancient NiMH Battery Tech
The term "tried and true" rings throughout the halls of Toyota. Another common saying is, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' This is a mantra that Toyota has used for eons when building and developing vehicles. The thing is, it works for them even though it may keep them from branching into other markets.
Even though NiMH battery tech is over 30 years old, Toyota has a ton of data supporting its use and lifespan. Data tells us everything we need to know about forecasting and longevity of a vehicle and what to expect as far as warranty.
If you have not read about Toyota updating their hybrid battery warranty, it is now 120 months/150,000 miles and only applies to these CA Emission states CA, CT, ME, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, RI and VT.
The fact that Toyota is still using NiMH is fascinating to me. The tech is proven, and it is safer than lithium-ion or polymer. Thermal runaway does not happen with NiMH, and safety is a big thing for Toyota.
Toyota also uses NiMH because it is predictable. They know that most people will outlive the warranty on the battery or trade the vehicle in within 5 years. It is all about the data.
NiMH for Toyota also has a more substantial fixed cost. They have used it so long and refined the tech that it is easy to get costs dialed in for the end product.
Overall, Toyota uses NiMH because they know how to keep their business running with their data from decades of research.
That is all for today. Thank you for reading. Remember, today's adventure is tomorrow's story, have an adventure today.
Take a look at this recent Toyota announcement about their partnership with battery maker BYD.
Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.