Toyota changes tune on EVs, announces new battery tech

July 11, 2023

Toyota is one of the world’s most respected carmakers, but there is little doubt that the Japanese auto giant has been lagging in the battery-electric vehicle segment. Over the past years, the company has reiterated its support for hybrid solutions and shunned the idea of a shift to all-electric vehicles, a sentiment that’s been expressed by several Toyota executives across the globe. 

And when Toyota actually released an all-electric car to rival best-sellers like the Tesla Model Y, it was so uninspiring that few were sold. Toyota’s Model Y fighter, the bZ4X, didn’t have it easy, as it was faced with a major safety recall and a production halt. But while Toyota appears to be a carmaker willing to defend its hybrids and PHEVs for as long as it can, a recent announcement from the company suggests that things may be changing. 

As per Toyota’s technology roadmap, the company will produce high-performance, solid-state batteries to improve vehicles’ driving range. Such innovations are also expected to cut the costs for the company’s electric vehicles. The plan was shared by Toyota a day prior to the company’s annual shareholders meeting, as noted in a Reuters report. 

The Japanese automaker noted that it is looking to launch its next-generation lithium-ion battery technology from 2026, which should offer longer range and rapid charging capabilities. The company also mentioned a “technological breakthrough” that addresses issues in solid-state batteries, and it also stated that it is developing a means to produce those batteries commercially by 2027-2028. 

Solid-state batteries are superior to current battery technology, though they are expensive and scaling their production is a challenge. Toyota noted that it would be producing an EV with a lithium-ion battery that features a range of 621 miles for the high end of the market. The company also stated that an EV that’s powered with a solid-state battery should have a range of about 745 miles, and it should be capable of charging in just 10 minutes. 

If Toyota were to pull off its ambitious battery plans, it would effectively leapfrog a lot of its competitors in the electric vehicle market. But while the company’s expected specs for its solid-state batteries far exceed the capabilities of commercially produced batteries that are available today, one would have to wonder how they would stack up against the batteries that are produced by the world’s most prominent EV makers in the coming years.

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Toyota changes tune on EVs, announces new battery tech