Bloomberg reports that Toyota’s engineers have reached an “advanced stage” of research on a new “induction”-type electric motor which holds the promise of freeing the Japanese automaker from dependence on so-called rare-earth materials. These elements, including neodymium and dysprosium, are used to strengthen the magnets used in traditional electric motors and generators, and are crucial to the production of everything from electric and hybrid cars to wind turbines and guided missiles. China currently controls over 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare-earth materials, and has recently cut exports quotas, raising tensions between China and Japan.
Who’s afraid of the 2016 CAFE standard ramp-up? Not the gas-electric hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder Concept. With 0-60 in 3.2 seconds from a racing-derived V8, and an extra 218 hp of electric power, the 918 Spyder could theoretically get 78 mpg, according to Porsche [full release at Egmcartech]. Just try not to think what all that racing-derived goodness would cost new.