Toyota says it has made a technological breakthrough that will allow it to halve the weight, size and cost of batteries, in what could herald a major advance for electric cars.
The world’s second largest carmaker was already pursuing a plan to roll out cars with advanced solid-state batteries, which offer benefits compared with liquid-based batteries, by 2025.
On Tuesday, the Japanese company said it had simplified production of the material used to make them, hailing the discovery as a significant leap forward that could dramatically cut charging times and increase driving range.
“For both our liquid and our solid-state batteries, we are aiming to drastically change the situation where current batteries are too big, heavy and expensive,” said Keiji Kaita, president of the Japanese auto firm’s research and development centre for carbon neutrality. “In terms of potential, we will aim to halve all of these factors.”
If claims of Toyota electric car batteries were true, according to University of Birmingham business economics professor David Bailey, it might mark a turning point for the development of electric vehicles.
“Often there are breakthroughs at the prototype stage but then scaling it up is difficult,” he said. “If it is a genuine breakthrough it could be a gamechanger, very much the holy grail of battery vehicles.”
Kaita said Toyota had developed ways to make electric cars batteries more durable and believed it could now make a solid-state battery with a range of 1,200km (745 miles) that could charge in 10 minutes or less.
The company expects to be able to manufacture solid-state batteries for use in electric vehicles as soon as 2027, according to the Financial Times, which first reported on Toyota’s claimed breakthrough.