A story in today’s Wall Street Journal suggests that Toyota may eventually need to buy its Prius batteries from China. The newspaper claims that China “controls 95% of the world’s supply of rare earth” metals and that Beijing has drafted a policy that would shrink the country’s annual export of them. Reportedly, the Prius incorporates about 12 kg of lanthanum in each of its batteries. Chinese officials have said they don’t plan on hording rare earth metals, but are trying to get manufacturers to set up facilities in China.
The end may not yet be near, but recent statements by two of the world’s biggest automakers point to the fact that the industry has begun to plan for a dramatic decline in vehicles that are powered solely by internal combustion engines.
At the recent Autodesk Accelerate event in Boston, the director of product development for a niche hypercar firm replied "no, no, no" to three answers he got for what makes a car go faster. What was the right response?
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