Toyota claims solid state battery breakthrough can halve weight, size, and cost

Toyota Claims Solid-State Battery Has 745 Mile Range, 10 Minute Charging Time

AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY NEWS

Salman Chaudhary, Founder Pinkywheels.com

7/4/20234 min read

Toyota Claims Breakthrough in Battery Technology

In a potential game changer for electric vehicles, The Japanese carmaker believes it can halve the weight, size, and cost of batteries, paving the way for significant advancements in electric vehicle technology. Toyota had already set a goal to introduce cars equipped with advanced solid-state batteries, known for their advantages over liquid-based batteries, by 2025. However, on Tuesday, the company revealed a simplified production method for the material used in these batteries, marking a major leap forward in terms of charging time and driving range.

Keiji Kaita, the president of Toyota's research and development center for carbon neutrality, expressed the company's ambition to drastically transform the current state of batteries. "For both our liquid and solid-state batteries, we are aiming to halve their size, weight, and cost," Kaita stated. Toyota's breakthrough includes developments that enhance battery durability. The company now believes it can produce a solid-state battery with a remarkable range of 1,200km (745 miles) and a charging time of 10 minutes or less".

According to the Financial Times, Toyota expects to be capable of manufacturing solid-state batteries for electric vehicles as early as 2027. Solid-state batteries have long been recognized as a promising technology, as they offer reduced charging times, increased capacity, and a decreased fire risk compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries that employ liquid electrolytes. However, their complex and costly production process has hindered their widespread adoption. Toyota claims it can simplify the manufacturing process, potentially surpassing the ease of producing lithium-ion batteries.

While Toyota has been viewed as a latecomer in the electric vehicle market, this breakthrough showcases the company's commitment to catching up with its rivals. Last year, Toyota faced a setback when it recalled 2,700 of its initial electric vehicles due to concerns about wheel detachment. Moreover, the Advertising Standards Authority recently banned Toyota and Hyundai from airing advertisements that exaggerated the speed of electric vehicle charging and misled consumers regarding the availability of rapid charging points across the UK and Ireland. However, Toyota's recent battery breakthrough may help redefine its position in the electric vehicle industry and drive future innovation in sustainable transportation.

Toyota recently held a technical briefing session, "Toyota Technical Workshop," under the theme "Let's Change the Future of Cars" and announced a variety of new technologies that will support its transformation into a mobility company.

Several Toyota executives discussed the automaker's upcoming EV tech strategy, shedding light on the concepts currently in development. Despite pressure from governments and investors to go all-electric, Toyota remains committed to a hybrid strategy that encompasses EVs, PHEVs, HEVs, and fuel cell vehicles (FCEV).

Toyota introduced several new innovations to support its next-generation EVs, including manufacturing upgrades to reduce costs, hypersonic technology to enhance aerodynamics, advancements in EV battery technology (including solid-state batteries), and fundamental changes to enhance the appeal of EV products.

To ensure the profitability of future EVs, Toyota plans to adopt a simple and slim vehicle body structure through Giga casting, a manufacturing process similar to Tesla's approach. This process simplifies manufacturing by reducing the number of components required for the car.

Toyota also intends to incorporate technology such as a self-propelling assembly line, allowing mass-produced cars to move along the assembly line autonomously. Through these investments, Toyota aims to reduce production lead time, streamline production processes, and cut factory investment for mass-produced EVs by 50%, resulting in significant fixed cost reductions.

Additionally, Toyota is exploring new technologies to reduce drag, such as hypersonic technology used in rockets. Collaborating with the Space Systems Division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toyota aims to apply these innovations to its EVs.

The highlight of Toyota's briefing was its next-gen EV battery technology. The automaker was actively working towards introducing its next generation of electric vehicles in 2026, boasting a cruising range of over 620 miles (1,000 km). Toyota plans to expand its lineup to offer various options that provide buyers with increased driving range at lower costs.

In 2026 and 2027, Toyota intends to offer two types of next-gen batteries: performance and popularized versions. The performance version will utilize the same lithium nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) battery chemistry as the bZ4X electric SUV, offering a 20% increase in driving range with a 20% reduction in cost. The bZ4X currently offers a driving range of 382 miles (615 km) under CLTC conditions, so a 20% improvement would result in over 458 miles CLTC.

On the other hand, the popularized version is expected to provide a 20% increase in driving range and a 40% reduction in costs compared to Toyota's initial electric model. This version will use a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry.

Toyota's battery technology is evolving further with the development of a high-performance battery that combines a bipolar structure with a high nickel cathode. This advancement aims to increase cruising range by 10%, reduce costs by 20%, and enable quick charging from 10% to 80% in 20 minutes or less.

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In addition to these advancements, Toyota has made a significant breakthrough in solid-state EV battery technology. The company is accelerating development and plans to achieve mass production between 2027 and 2028. The solid-state batteries are expected to offer a 20% improvement in driving range. Toyota is also conducting research and development on a higher-performance version that could potentially provide a cruising range of over 900 miles, a remarkable 50% increase.

Toyota's ambitious plans also include downsizing key EV components such as the motor, gear, train, and inverters, achieved through the implementation of a "small eAxle." By utilizing next-gen SiC wafers, Toyota aims to reduce power loss by 50%, thereby improving EV energy consumption.

Final Thought:

With these advancements in technology, Toyota is poised to make significant strides in the electric vehicle industry, cementing its position as a leading innovator in sustainable transportation.