Reuters reports that Toyota has developed a technology to substitute rare earths used in its hybrid vehicles.
The company, which has a strong lead in environmentally friendlier car sales around the world said it would be able to bring the technology to market within two years if REE prices don't fall.
The maker of the Prius may not have to commercialize the technology:
MINING.com reported last week the prices for scarcer REEs coming from China, responsible for 95% of world output, which have generally held up while the light REEs have been declining have now also fallen back.
Neodymium used in windmills and for magnets in hybrid cars have seen a dramatic slump – from $338/kg in Q3 2011 to $200/kg at the start of 2012.
The reversal in the dysprosium oxide price has been most startling. Also a hybrid vehicle ingredient, dysprosium rocketed from a price of $118.49/kg in 2008 to $921.20/kg in the second quarter of 2011 and $2,300/kg by September last year.
Dysprosium, also used in conjunction with vanadium and other elements in making laser materials, has now given up more than $840 per kilogram and goes for $1,420.