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.
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
As it does every year, Consumers Union recently surveyed its members on the reliability of their vehicles. This year, it collected data on approximately 1.1 million cars and trucks, categorizing the members’ likes and dislikes, not only of their vehicles, but of the vehicle sub-systems, as well.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.