Toyota has announced that it is developing a new alternative electric motor to be used in its hybrid vehicles. The new motor is being designed to reduce the need for rare earth Toyota uses in the construction of its vehicles. The move comes after a spat between Japan and China led to China withholding shipments of rare earth to Japan for a few months.
China produces 97% of the world's supply of rare earths that are use in all sorts of items from electronics to hybrid vehicles and more. The move will make it easier for Toyota to operate without the material from China should there ever be an issue with supply again.
The AP reports that the US, Canada, and Australia all have rare earth deposits as well, but stopped mining the rare earth materials since it was cheaper to get the material from China. China has about 30% of the world supply of rare earth within its country.