Battery Bottleneck Keeps Prius Customers Waiting

By Stephen Markley  on August 6, 2009 Despite a massive sales decline for Toyota, the automaker’s bright spot has been the 2010 Toyota Prius. Unfortunately, building enough battery packs to meet demand has proved a major challenge.

Senior managing director Takahiko Ijichi told Automotive News that despite the battery factories working at full capacity, the “production of the batteries needs to be increased in order for our production to go up.” He also said that delays are “inconveniencing” some Toyota customers.

Toyota buys its batteries from Panasonic EV Energy, which produces a maximum of 500,000 nickel-metal-hydride packs for Toyota each year. Panasonic plans to expand its production capabilities, but that won’t help consumers currently trying to get their hands on a ’10 Prius.

This also exposes a major issue for the future of the electric vehicle and plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt. With hybrids currently making up only 2% to 3% of the market, battery manufacturers are going to have to build a heck of a lot more batteries to supply the cars of the future. If the Prius alone can cause a bottleneck like this, imagine if the United States reaches President Barack Obama’s goal of one in 10 cars being a hybrid by 2015?

Report: Battery Bottleneck Holding Up Prius Sales (Autoblog)

Toyota Toyota Prius Hybrids/Alternative Fuels