Toyota Confirms Game-Changing Tech Coming In 2025

Electric Vehicles / Comments

Rivals should be prepared.

It's the technology every major automaker is clamoring for. Solid-state batteries are the next technological breakthrough, promising greater range, reduced fire risk, and, eventually, cheaper production costs. The trick is cracking the chemistry code. Toyota believes it'll do that by 2025.

Speaking to Autoline at CES 2022, Gill Pratt, Toyota's chief scientist and head of the Toyota Research Institute, confirmed the first Toyota vehicle with a solid-state battery will retain an internal combustion engine. Will it be the next-generation Toyota Prius? We don't know just yet, but Pratt went on to say that the Japanese carmaker intends to have this vehicle ready to go in the first half of the decade. What's interesting is that Toyota is still focused on hybrids and plug-in hybrids instead of BEVs.

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Lexus
Lexus

This isn't exactly surprising given CEO Akio Toyoda's vocal stance on the matter; he's not convinced yet that BEVs are the best solution. What's clear is that due to the complex nature of solid-state batteries, Toyota intends to install them first in a hybrid powertrain, learn the necessary lessons, and eventually move to fully electric models.

Even once Toyota achieves its solid-state battery tech, it'll still be too expensive for a pure EV. Prices will eventually go down. At that point, we'll be seeing these batteries used for a number of new products, including some new Lexus models. A production-spec version of the Electrified Sport concept, a potential LFA successor, is a very real possibility. Right now, lithium-ion batteries power every new all-electric vehicle but the race is on for solid states.

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Lexus
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Fisker was previously involved in this R&D but has since abandoned the project due to the high costs involved. This is clearly a task for a global automaker to take on rather than a small niche one. Which brings us to this question: where is Tesla in all of this? We know about its new 4680 battery cell, developed in partnership with Panasonic, which offers nearly five times the energy storage at only half the cost of the carmaker's existing battery tech.

At least one former Tesla battery engineer previously went on record to say solid-state battery technology is unlikely to be possible on a mass scale. Instead, it'll remain a niche tech for niche products and vehicles. Toyota aims to change that.

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