Lithium ion batteries prevail over NiMH for the auto industry

Given the wild success of the Toyota Prius, those early hybrid vehicle watchers saw good things ahead for nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery technology. Sure it was a bit heavy but very stable and well priced for hybrid vehicle technology.
But it would appear that competing with lithium ion technology is just too difficult. Lithium-ion batteries have historically been more expensive, but also lighter, more compact and more powerful. The batteries allow automakers more design flexibility in the main cabin as the batteries take up less space. Navigant is forecasting that battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will opt for lithium-ion while hybrids like the Prius slowly shift toward lithium ion.
Even Toyota has significantly upped its lithium ion battery production capacity in the last year as reports indicate it will transition future Prius builds to the more powerful technology. Because lithium-ion batteries are lighter, fuel efficiency on a lithium-ion powered Prius should get a small bump. As Tesla begins the first stage of its massive lithium ion battery gigafactory, which will produce enough batteries for a 500,000 cars per year production run, we’re truly seeing the triumph of the the lithium ion battery in the automotive space.