NEXT-GENERATION electric vehicle batteries are just a few years away from entering production, according to Toyota.
The Japanese car giant has revealed that it could have solid-state batteries, which are considered the next step to making electric vehicles (EVs) more affordable and usable, ready for production vehicles “sometime in the early 2020s”.
Toyota executive vice-president Didier Leroy made the revelation as part of a wider speech on the company’s future.
He explained that although the company doesn’t have any pure EVs yet, “we have no doubt that EVs will be one of the key solutions in the near future.”
He said: “We have invested in advanced battery research for a very long time, and we believe our solid-state battery technology can be a game-changer with the potential to dramatically improve driving range.
“We are the leader in the field in terms of intellectual property, and currently we have more than 200 engineers working hard to be able to commercialise this technology sometime in the early 2020s.”
Solid-state batteries replace the liquid found in traditional batteries with a solid material.
The advantage of this is that the battery becomes more energy dense, so it can be smaller. It’s also cheaper because fewer raw materials are needed, can charge more quickly and generates less heat.
However, finding a solid material that can effectively store energy at the same levels of existing liquid-based lithium-ion batteries has long proved a stumbling block.
In September, Toyota created a new technology company in collaboration with fellow car manufacturer Mazda and automotive component maker Denso to work on EV technology.