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Electric Vehicles to See a Leap: Toyota’s Solid-State Batteries Inch Closer to Reality

Electric vehicles may soon charge in just 10 minutes and travel further than ever. This breakthrough is on the horizon as Toyota Motor Corp., in collaboration with Idemitsu Kosan Co., gears up for the mass production of innovative solid-state batteries.
Japan
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Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker by vehicles sold, is poised to reshape the electric vehicle (EV) market. Earlier in October, the Japanese automotive juggernaut announced its partnership with energy group Idemitsu Kosan Co., moving closer to the mass production of next-generation solid-state batteries. With a targeted rollout as early as 2027 or 2028, this could mark a new chapter in EV innovation.

The development of solid-state battery technology has long been touted as a game-changer by industry experts, addressing the persistent concerns surrounding EVs such as charging time, battery lifespan, and safety risks. Contrary to the liquid electrolyte in traditional lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries employ a solid electrolyte. This design shift promises enhanced stability and safety. If Toyota’s ambitions bear fruit, it would mean electric vehicles boasting a range of up to 1,200 km and a drastically reduced charging time of a mere 10 minutes.

Recent revelations from the Financial Times publication indicate that Toyota has achieved significant advancements in the requisite materials and manufacturing processes for these batteries. The goal is to match the production pace of their lithium-ion counterparts. However, the journey ahead is laden with challenges. Mass production of solid-state batteries comes with its set of technical hurdles, from sensitivity to environmental conditions such as moisture to the intricate precision the assembly process demands.

Expressing confidence in their path forward, Toyota’s CEO, Koji Sato, highlighted the creation of materials that are “more stable and less prone to crack.” A recent media tour of Toyota’s Aichi Prefecture facility offered a glimpse into the company’s progressive steps in EV technology, reinforcing their preparedness to upscale production.

The Toyota-Idemitsu alliance is emblematic of the increasing convergence between the automotive and energy sectors. As Sato noted, “The future of mobility lies in the tie-up between the auto and energy sectors.” Central to their partnership is the development and production of a promising solid-state battery material known as sulphide solid electrolyte, which both entities believe could be the solution to battery durability concerns.

Beyond this partnership, Toyota’s aspirations are expansive. The carmaker has set its sights on selling 1.5 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) annually by 2026, aiming for a staggering 3.5 million BEVs by 2030. Fulfilling these projections would firmly establish Toyota’s dominance in the evolving global EV landscape.

While Toyota’s endeavors are significant, they aren’t isolated. Prominent automakers, including Nissan and Ford, alongside battery manufacturers like CATL and Samsung SDI, are all steering toward solid-state battery technologies. This underscores the intensifying global race to usher in the next phase of EV evolution.

With Toyota’s storied history in hybrids and its commitment to battery research, the automotive titan is undeniably leading the charge in the forthcoming wave of EV innovation.

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