In the absence of Sony releasing a 2019 ‘compact' flagship (at least so far), who would have thought that Xperia fans would be turning to Samsung to fulfil their needs. Sony Mobile has dampened plans to release any more ‘compact' flagship devices. Earlier in the year, Sony Mobile's Vice President of Marketing said that consumers wanted bigger displays, implying that Sony may be ending its compact range.
TOKYO — Toyota has found a way to reduce the amount of a key rare earth metal used in magnets for electric car motors by around 20 percent, which could tame the cost of producing electric cars and reduce the risk of a supply shortage of materials needed for their production. The Japanese automaker on Tuesday said it had developed a magnet which replaces some of the neodymium, a rare earth metal used in the world's most powerful permanent batteries, with more abundant and cheaper lanthanum and cerium, adding that it aimed to use the magnets in electric vehicle motors within the next 10 years. As production of hybrid and other electric cars is expected to ramp up in the coming years, automakers and electronics companies have been developing new high-powered magnets which require less rare earth metals to reduce costs and trim exposure to possible fluctuations in supply. A temporary export ban of neodymium by major supplier China in 2010 during a territorial dispute with Japan and periodic supply shortages have highlighted automakers' dependence on these materials. "An increase in electric car production will raise the need for motors, which will result in higher demand for neodymium down the line," Akira Kato, general project manager at Toyota's advanced R&D and engineering company, told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo. "If we continue to use neodymium at this pace we'll eventually experience a supply shortage ... so we wanted to come up with technology which would help conserve neodymium stocks." At the moment, magnets used in most automobiles to operate motors for everything from hybrid and other electric drivetrains to power steering systems comprise a total of around 30 percent of the rare earth elements neodymium, terbium and dysprosium. Automakers including Honda have found ways to eliminate dysprosium and terbium, which cost around $400 and $900 per kilogram, respectively, from magnets by increasing the amount of neodymium, which costs around $100 per kilogram. Toyota has come up with a way to cut out the expensive metals from the magnets and also reduce the amount of neodymium in favor of lanthanum and cerium, which each cost around $5-$7 per kilogram. Kato declined to give specific details on cost reductions, but said that Toyota could replace up to half of the neodymium used in magnets for motors which operate conventional vehicle functions like power windows with lanthanum and cerium, and around 20 percent for electric motor magnets. Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu
The Lexus RX is the Japanese automaker's best-selling model, moving nearly twice as many units so far this year as the runner-up, the Lexus NX. Considering the state of the crossover-crazed market, that should be a surprise to absolutely no one. Still, customers demands more, and automakers are happy to deliver. Currently, Lexus has a three-row crossover-shaped hole in its lineup. Soon, that gap will be filled by the new seven-passenger 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL.
Sure, you can get three rows in the GX and LX, but traditional SUVs like that aren't selling nearly as well as more fuel efficient and more affordable car-based crossovers. The RX 350L and RX 450hL are based on the standard and hybrid RX variants. The pair have been extended by 4.3 inches to help accommodate an extra pair of seats. The angle of the rear window has also been changed to make sure third-row occupants have a reasonable amount of headroom.
Toyota wrote Autoblog to ask if we could spread the word about the Takata airbag inflator recall. Defective inflators remain installed in tens of millions of cars made by 19 carmakers, with manufacture dates that go back to the year 2000. Each inflator compounds the risk of serious injury or death in an airbag-activating crash. With a new ad campaign called "in about an hour," Toyota wants to make sure that unaware owners, or overly busy owners, know they can get their Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles repaired free of charge in about the time it takes to do a load of laundry.
The campaign focuses on cities in three so-called Zone A states where hot, humid climates worsen the threat of the ruptured inflators: Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami. However, every owner everywhere who cares about his life, or his child's life, should at least check to see if his car is affected. All it takes is a quick VIN entry at the dedicated recall site at Toyota.com/Recall. The results will let you know if your car is affected and, if so, locate a local dealer for the free fix.
Toyota Motor Corp. confirmed Wednesday that a planned Mexico auto plant is being scaled back, but a top executive said the decision was driven by market needs and was not a political move.
The investment for the Guanajuato plant, set to be running in 2019, will fall to $700 million (80 billion yen) from the $1 billion commitment announced in 2015. Annual production will decrease to half at 100,000, the company said.
The iconic rotary engine is still under development by a small team of engineers at Mazda, despite the company’s continuing focus on increasing its global footprint at the cost of investing heavily in the drivetrain.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Mazda technology forum in Frankfurt last week, the Japanese company's director and senior managing executive officer of research and development, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, admitted that while work continues on the rotary engine, Mazda needs to invest its limited R&D budget into other technologies, for the time being.