Toyota Plans to Create Electric Vehicles with Reduced Precious Metals

Toyota is planning to cut its use of precious earth metals by approximately 50% in its electric vehicles due to concern that the surge in these type vehicles will create a situation where the demand will be higher than the supply. The alternative metals used in the magnets for the motors called cerium and lanthanum are much cheaper and have no foreseeable shortage. The advantage of motors with magnets is that they can be used in any type vehicle that has an electric platform. By 2030, Toyota expects half of all its vehicles sold to be electric. The rare metals are quickly being diminished to build greener vehicles because most industrialized nations continue to pass strict emission laws.

China is the largest supplier of electric vehicles and rare metals. This situation creates a potential unstable metal market as the demand continues to increase. In 2017, a bust of illegal Chinese miners caused the price of neodymium to increase by almost a third within a month. This increased demand also gives China dominant control over the rare metals market. Toyota hopes to eventually make all of its electric vehicles 100% free of precious metals. The company hopes to be at the forefront of this technology. Toyota feels that most electric automobile makers will be hurt by the shortage in rare metals by 2025.