DETROIT -- Picture a Toyota Prius hybrid. The energy stored in its battery pack powers the car during low speeds, assisting the internal combustion engine.
With only electric drive, Toyota would need three such battery packs to propel the Prius 12 1/2 miles. To cover 62 miles, it would need 10 packs.
The Prius example makes it clear that the auto industry needs breakthroughs in batteries and materials so future vehicles will be lighter and more fuel efficient, says Ankil Shah, materials engineering manager for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America.
"To solve these challenges, we believe more material development is required," Shah said during a presentation last month at Plastics News and European Plastics News' Plastics in Lightweight & Electric Vehicles 2011 conference in suburban Detroit. Like Automotive News, Plastics News and European Plastics News are published by Crain Communications.