Remember when we told you Toyota would be dropping $673m on new battery facilities? In addition to expanding next-gen Li-ion production (and next-next-gen development labs), ToMoCo also wants to increase its current-spec NiMH production capacity. And no wonder. Toyota can't keep the NiMH batteries in stock, limiting sales of its hybrid lineup. The AP reports via the San Jose Mercury that Toyota's investments in production capacity won't bear fruit until next year. "Hybrids are selling so well we are doing all we can to increase production," says executive VP for production Takeshi Uchiyamada. "We need new lines." But the ramifications of Toyota's lack of insight (pun kinda intended) aren't limited to lost sales. Uchiyamada acknowledges that white-hot demand for the NiMH packs are preventing him from extending Toyota's production-greening efforts to the production of "green" hybrid cars. (Figure that one out.) As the industry pioneer in hybrid manufacturing, Toyota's battery shortage is clearly a measure of its product's success. On the other hand, as a longtime leader in production efficiency, it's hard to believe Toyota was caught napping by demand for its hybrids. It seems that when it comes to hybrids, Toyota's "just-in-time" ethic translates a little closer to "hurry up and wait."
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