Toyota hails battery breakthrough in electric cars

New technology claims to increase the cruising range of cars and reduce charging time

Toyota claims that its “technological breakthroughs” will reduce the cost, size and mass of batteries for electric cars.

The company, which has the largest number of cars sold in the world, also said that the research on solid state batteries could increase the range of electric vehicle.

Solid-state batteries are lighter and cheaper to produce than the current Lithium-ion liquid electrolyte batteries.

Keiji Kaita is the head of Toyota’s carbon neutrality research and development center. He said: “For our liquid and solid-state batteries we aim to dramatically change the current situation, where batteries are too large, heavy, and expensive.

“In terms potential, we’ll aim to reduce all of these factors by half.”

Toyota claims that the new technology can improve the cruising range of its cars by 20 percent compared to their current batteries. It will also charge in less than 10 minutes.

A cruising distance is a state of constant driving, such as when on an autobahn, and not a stop-start drive due to heavy traffic, like in a large city.

Toyota has announced its intention to commercialise its new solid-state batteries , with the aim of having cars running on this new technology as soon as 2027.

The company announced in June that it would create a battery-powered EV capable of a 1,000km range.

Toyota’s discovery is based on an inexpensive lithium iron-phosphate. This is in contrast to current battery technology, which relies on liquid electrolyte (also known as battery acid).

Current EV Lithium-ion Batteries use a liquid Electrolyte for storing and releasing electrical energy. The batteries are heavy and large, and this can pose a risk if they are damaged by a crash.

The typical lithium-ion battery used in electric cars stores about 200 Watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg).

In a US laboratory experiment conducted earlier this year, 675Wh/kg was achieved with the solid-state equivalent of lithium-air. This is a promising result for longer ranges in electric vehicles.

China is one of the fastest-growing lithium suppliers.

The majority of cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo are controlled or owned by Chinese companies.

Toyota’s electric vehicle journey has not been smooth. Its bZ4X model was late to the market due to a combination pandemic and issues with wheels that required a 2022 recall.

Koji Sato is the chief executive of Toyota. He said: “The battery EV market is rapidly changing, and I believe that Toyota should be able provide solutions to this field, so that we can move forward quickly in this area.”