Toyota has said it is close to being able to mass manufacture potentially revolutionary solid-state batteries that could offer double the range of existing electric cars.
According to Toyota, cars powered by solid-state batteries could have a range of 745 miles, a charging time of 10 minutes and hit the market in 2027 or 2028.
They have been presented by experts as a revolutionary technology that could bring EVs into the mainstream.
Switching to an electric vehicle is out of reach for many Americans, experts have warned, as a lack of access to charging ports mean they fear being left stranded in shorter-range vehicles.
The driving range of electric cars varies between models, but is typically around 300 miles.
Toyota has said it ‘close’ to being able to mass manufacture potentially revolutionary solid-state batteries that could offer double the range of existing electric cars. Pictured is a worker cleaning an electric Toyota bZ4X in Indonesia
Earlier this month, Toyota CEO Koji Sato announced that the firm would partner with major Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan to manufacture the batteries
While solid-state batteries could be revolutionary, they also present challenges for manufacturers. According to Toyota, one of the most significant hurdles is the assembly process, in which layers of cathode and anode cells need to be stacked quickly and precisely.
Claims that Toyota is on the brink of being of being able to mass manufacture solid-state batteries were first published in the Financial Times on Monday.
‘In terms of the stacking speed, we are almost there. We are going to roll out bigger volumes and check the quality,’ an engineer for the company told the outlet.
Earlier this month, Toyota CEO Koji Sato announced that the firm would partner with major Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan on the project to manufacture the batteries.
‘With repeated efforts involving trial and error, we have succeeded in developing a material that is more stable and less prone to crack,’ Sato told reporters in Tokyo during an announcement with Idemitsu.
‘The future of mobility lies in the tie-up between the auto and energy sectors, including this innovation hailing from Japan,’ he said.
Toyota’s push comes as EV sales in the US have slumped, and auto experts suggest a combination of their high price and limited range has put American motorists off.
The average electric car sold in the US is approaching 300 miles of range, according to a Bloomberg analysis of EV sales earlier this year. And the median range of 2021 model year gas cars was around 405 miles, according to a report from the US Department of Energy.
And controversial liquid lithium-ion batteries have long been at the center of criticism around electric vehicles, given their limited recyclability and dependence on the mining of lithium and fire risk.
Toyota claims it achieved a technological ‘breakthrough’ enabling it to produce them at the same rate as existing batteries for electric vehicles. Pictured is the inside of an electric vehicle battery pack shop at a VinFast factory in Haiphong, Vietnam
Solid state batteries offer faster charging times, greater capacity, longer lifespan, and according to a recent report they can reduce EV carbon footprint by almost a quarter.
While the solid state batteries are hard to produce, Toyota claims it achieved a technological ‘breakthrough’ enabling it to produce them at the same rate as existing batteries for electric vehicles.
Toyota is hoping that the development will allow it to make up ground lost to Tesla and increasingly dominant Chinese rivals such as BYD, but has admitted its initial production will be small.
‘I think the most important thing at the moment is to put out [the solid-state batteries] into the world and we will consider expansion in volume from there,’ said Sato.
Many other top automakers are also working on solid-state batteries, including Nissan and Ford.